The curse of being a spare heir


I try not to make too much political commentary here, but this one ties into almost all the themes of this site: history, honor, and militarism:

Prince Harry arrives in Afghanistan at start of four-month tour as Apache helicopter pilot: Prince Harry has arrived in Afghanistan to begin a four-month tour of duty as an Apache attack helicopter pilot, the Ministry of Defence has announced.

Here are my observations:

  1. British royals should steer clear of American women.
  2. Combat is reserved for the “spare heir”.
  3. Spare heirs don’t have as much to lose because they don’t expect to have as much to gain.
  1. They have to, for better or worse, make their own way.
  2. Unless it backfires and they ascend to the throne.
  • Prince Harry is not the first to face this dilemma.
  • A little time out of the spotlight helps other forget one’s indiscretions (i.e. people want to think well of their heroes).
  • My objective is not to criticize Prince Harry. I cannot imagine the pressures he faces as the second son of a future king. He is held to the same standard as the Duke of Cambridge and has little to no chance of ever becoming king.

    He and his brother are the first generation of British royals to have spent their entire life under the watchful lens of a twenty-four hour news media. They are the vanguard par eminence of young royals around the globe, and the membership of this elite club is shrinking. There are only 44 monarchies left in the world, and 16 of those share the same queen, who happens to be Harry’s grandmother.

    So what is a young, second son of a future king to do after the media has trounced his image for the fun of creating a scandal (would they have cared if he wasn’t a royal)? Spend some time at war (and away from the spotlight) to restore honor to his name and wash away the shame he has brought upon his family.

    When placed in a life-or-death situation, no matter how little the chances are of one’s own death resulting, one has an opportunity to reflect upon his sins and repent. Maybe Prince Harry will learn the lesson of the Prodigal Son and forsake the vanity of his youth and return to his home a new man.

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