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Former soldier recalls moment Prince Harry defended him from homophobic abuse

Former solider James Wharton recalls the moment Prince Harry stepped in to silence his bullies.

2020-01-15

A gay former soldier says Prince Harry defended him from homophobic abuse while the pair were serving together in the army.

Speaking to Forces News, James Wharton recalled the moment in 2008 when the Duke of Sussex - who was his then acting as his tank commander - confronted bigoted colleagues who were bullying him because of his sexuality.

"When I was serving in the army I was openly gay, and In 2008 while we were working together, I’d got myself into a bit of a situation with some soldiers from another regiment and, essentially, they didn’t like the fact I was gay,” Wharton recalled.

"They had a problem about it, and they were sort-of chest poking me and making me feel quite uncomfortable, shall we say."

Former Attitude cover star Wharton, who documented his experiences of serving as a gay soldier in his 2013 book Out in the Army – My Life as a Gay Soldier, opened up about the moment Prince Harry stepped in to shut down the bullies.

"He could see I was clearly affected by something and he asked me what the problem was," Wharton said.

 

"So I told him there were a couple of soldiers outside who weren't very happy with the fact I was gay.

"So, quite offended that his gunner was being picked on by these people, Prince Harry went out and saw those soliders and spoke to them, and the problem went away.

"He told them off, and they left me alone."

Prince Harry, who is set to 'step back' as a senior royal with wife Meghan Markle, became the first senior British royal in history to publicly celebrate Pride month in a joint statement with his spouse last summer.

He previously appeared at the Attitue Awards in 2017, where he accepted an award on behalf of his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, who was being honoured for her HIV/Aids activism.

The appearance came a year after Harry's brother, Prince William, became the first British royal to front an LGBTQ magazine when he appeared on the cover of Attitude.