Prince Harry Quits Helicopter Pilot Role to Become Army Staff Officer in London

Captain Wales did a tour of duty in Afghanistan and served with the army Air Corps for three years

By Zach Johnson Jan 17, 2014 12:11 PMTags
Prince HarryAFP PHOTO / POOL / JOHN STILLWELL/Getty Images

Prince Harry's future plans are no longer up in the air.

The royal redhead, 29, has completed his attachment to 3 Regiment Army Air Corps and will now take up a staff officer role in HQ London District, Kensington Palace announced on Friday, Jan. 17. The fourth in line to the British throne spent more than three years serving as an Apache helicopter pilot.

"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," Lt. Col. Tom de la Rue, who commanded Prince Harry in the Army Air Corps, said in a statement.


Prince Harry will now be organizing "major commemorative events" involving the army. He will retain the rank of Captain and remains a Commissioned Officer in the Household Cavalry.

The younger son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana joined the Army in 2005, training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He briefly served in Afghanistan in 2008, but was withdrawn after just 10 weeks amid security concerns. In July 2010, he began his 18-month Apache training course at Middle Wallop, and in April 2011, he moved to Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk to continue his exercises.


During that time, Prince Harry was awarded the prize for best co-pilot gunner. He became a fully operational Apache Attack Helicopter Pilot in February 2012.

Kate Middleton's brother-in-law toured Afghanistan as an Apache Pilot between September 2012 and January 2013, where he provided helicopter support to the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan forces. Unsurpisingly, his royal lineage did not go unnoticed by his fellow pilots.

"It's as normal as it's going to get," Prince Harry told members of the British press after his tour of duty was complete. "I'm one of the guys. I don't get treated any differently...I probably turn heads because I'm ginger." In July 2013, Queen Elizabeth II's grandson qualified as Apache Aircraft Commander.

The news comes fourth months after Prince William, 31, announced he was leaving the military to become a full-time royal. He is currently studying agricultural management at Cambridge University.