i Editor's Letter: 'I feel Prince Harry was badly advised'


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The Independent Online


Time for objectivity regarding Prince Harry. Let's address those readers who believe any reporting on Royals to be kowtowing, tantamount to i staff seeking honours.

Let's be clear. On a personal level, as I wrote during the Jubilympics, I am ambivalent, believing they are useful as a generator of tourist revenues and add to the gaiety of the nation. That will cause both pro and anti-monarchists to splutter. As for i, there is no "official" line, but we won't ignore them when they are at the centre of real news – not what Kate's wearing.

I'd ask you to look beyond your personal views to the news value of a senior member of Britain's elite (like it or not) admitting to killing the enemy in a controversial war. And then relating combat to his use of video games! And further attacking the media – which, by the way, had honoured a news blackout on his time there out of concern for troop safety.

The manner in which Prince Harry is portrayed is a different matter. This depends on your attitudes to the war, troops and Royals. Much of this is bound up in a single word, "hero", a descriptor you will not have seen in an i news story.

I feel Prince Harry was badly advised. Soldiers should not have to answer questions about killing while in the heat of combat zones. Some of you will be even older school, feeling one should never talk of war exploits. I can sympathise, having only recently discovered that my father was a para at Arnhem. But the Prince's military exploits and views have repercussions far beyond those of any other British helicopter gunner. As a consequence, they are unquestionably news. It doesn't mean we condone or condemn them.