Skip to main content

Prince Harry steps back from attack helicopter pilot role

By Max Foster and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 7:55 AM EST, Fri January 17, 2014
Prince Harry, left, and Prince William leave the Christmas Day service at Sandringham on December 25 in King's Lynn.
Prince Harry, left, and Prince William leave the Christmas Day service at Sandringham on December 25 in King's Lynn.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Prince Harry moves to a desk job in London, keeps rank of captain
  • The move takes him out of a potential combat role flying Apache helicopters
  • He has served in Afghanistan as a helicopter pilot and gunner
  • Prince "has reached the pinnacle of flying excellence," his commanding officer says

London (CNN) -- Prince Harry is ending his time with Britain's Army Air Corps and is taking a staff officer role in London, Kensington Palace announced Friday.

The move takes him out of a potential combat role flying Apache helicopters and gives him a desk job in London.

His deployments included a four-month stint in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, known as a Taliban stronghold.

The move to a new role comes at a time of increasing British media speculation about his relationship with Cressida Bonas.

Harry, who is known as Captain Wales to his fellow servicemen, will keep the same rank in his new position.

Prince Harry reaches the South Pole

His responsibilities "will include helping to co-ordinate significant projects and commemorative events involving the Army in London," a Kensington Palace news release said.

Prince Harry spent 3½ years in training and operational service with the Apache Force during his time with the Army Air Corps.

He was awarded the prize for best co-pilot gunner during training and became a fully operational Apache pilot in February 2012.

He qualified as an Apache aircraft commander in July of last year.

Lt. Col. Tom de la Rue, Harry's commanding officer in the Army Air Corps, said: "Captain Wales has reached the pinnacle of flying excellence as an Apache pilot, particularly in Afghanistan and, in the process, has proved to be a real inspiration to the many Army Air Corps officers and soldiers who have come to know him so well over the last two years."

Harry has embraced an increasingly public role in the past couple of years.

In December, he and a team made up of wounded UK veterans reached the South Pole, after a grueling trek across the Antarctic with the Walking With The Wounded charity.

The prince hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in 2012, after he was photographed naked while in his swanky Las Vegas hotel suite with friends and a group of women they had met. The images were widely published on the Internet and by Britain's best-selling tabloid newspaper The Sun.

But in the months preceding that, Harry had won praise from the UK media for embracing a more central public role in support of the Queen in her diamond jubilee year.

This included representing his grandmother at the Olympics Closing Ceremony and on a royal tour to the Caribbean.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:21 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
The first human trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine has produced promising results, U.S. scientists said.
updated 9:15 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teen in August abandoned home after address made public.
updated 5:36 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
HBO -- backing a documentary based on "Going Clear," a book about Scientology and Hollywood -- isn't taking any chances with legal side.
updated 2:35 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Grandmaster Nguyen Van Chieu has devoted his adult life to spreading the word about Vietnames martial art, Vovinam.
updated 6:36 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
England cricketer Nick Compton shares insight into "drive and courage" it takes to face fears as top batsman.
updated 7:59 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson says he was just doing his "job right" when he shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown.
updated 8:18 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
updated 6:18 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says women's "nature is different," sparking fury.
updated 5:43 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
updated 7:51 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
updated 10:50 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
updated 4:06 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
updated 6:19 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
updated 2:45 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
updated 12:03 PM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT