The British media and (I suspect) the royal establishment are very upset that Prince Harry will receive the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the ESPYs. Nevermind that the award is backed by the Tillman Foundation and ESPN and they’re not backing down in the face of yet another British-led hate campaign. The Brits now think that they can lay a very strange guilt trip on Harry for accepting the award. They’ve created a narrative where Harry must “turn it down,” for reasons like “he removed his wife and children from our abuse” and “he dared to correct the record on decades of lies.” The Mail columnist Amanda Platell had an especially unhinged piece about this a few days ago, and then of course Richard Eden had to do a follow-up. Eden is pointing out that King Charles gave Prince William the Army Air Corps patronage, and Eden is basically saying that Harry is mad that he wasn’t allowed to continue to serve the British military and… that’s why he’s accepting an award in America. Quite an argument: the sadistic Windsors punished Harry by removing his military patronages, therefore America is wrong to give him awards.

Prince Harry will have been further wounded, say old friends, to see his brother, Prince William, handed the role of Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps by their father, King Charles, at a colourful ceremony at Middle Wallop, Hampshire, last month. There is a poignancy to the location, as Middle Wallop is where Harry, 39, did his training before serving with the Army Air Corps as co-pilot in Apache attack helicopters in Afghanistan. There was a time when the younger brother could legitimately have expected to be given the Army Air Corps role himself. For, although William, 42, went on to pilot helicopters with the search and rescue service of the Royal Air Force, he has never been involved in active conflict. Harry’s decision to quit royal life means that he is no longer eligible for such honorary roles, however.

‘Harry was genuinely hurt that he was not allowed to retain his formal links to the military,’ one British friend of the Prince tells me. ‘They meant the world to him.’

In the absence of new honours from the King, Harry has taken to accepting awards in the U.S., his adopted homeland. And the latest of these has proved contentious. The ESPY Award is just the latest honour the Duke has accepted since he moved to California. Among the others was the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award, presented to Harry and Meghan for the work they have undertaken in ‘promoting racial equality, social justice and mental health’.

A showbusiness source in the US tells me: ‘These awards are great for keeping Harry and Meghan in the news. They boost their profile at a time when they are not producing much work. Their agents love awards, too, as they keep everyone happy.’

For now. The backlash over the Pat Tillman Award suggests that the American public might be starting to see this unending stream of awards and honours and something of a public relations strategy. For frontline members of the Royal Family, honours are merely part of the role, whether it’s taking up a senior position with a military regiment or receiving a new decoration, such as the Family Order worn by Queen Camilla at last week’s state banquet for Japanese Emperor Naruhito. Yet, today, Harry and Meghan are free of the constraints of monarchy – an institution which they appear to hold in contempt. Why would they want or need regular new honours?

Indeed, if Harry had any honour, he would turn down the Pat Tillman Award and let the event’s organisers present it, instead, to someone who puts the values of self-sacrifice and service before personal gain.

[From The Daily Mail]

Something isn’t clicking for me, maybe I’ve lost my ability to understand their rantings at this point, but what is the argument here really? Mary Tillman has a right to her opinion, and the Tillman Foundation and ESPN have the right to ignore her and continue to highlight Harry’s work and the work of Invictus. I still have no idea why and how Mary Tillman came to give her (kind of ridiculous) statement to the Mail, but it’s been made abundantly clear why the award is going to Harry. It’s not some hokey faux award, it’s not like the Sussexes show up to the opening of an envelope (I wish!!) and it’s not like the Windsors are not CONSTANTLY giving each other awards, honors, orders, ribbons, medals, etc. What are we even doing here?

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.