Suffolk 'very sad' Prince Harry has lost RAF Honington role

Prince Harry attends the 26 Squadron RAF Regiment Standard Parade at RAF Honington

Prince Harry visiting RAF Honington in his capacity as Honorary Air Commandant, which he has now had to relinquish - Credit: Gregg Brown

Military veterans in Suffolk have spoken of their sadness at Prince Harry losing his honorary RAF Honington role - after he quit as a working member of the Royal Family.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit as senior working royals in March 2020 to earn their own money in the United States.

The Queen has now confirmed the pair will not "continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service".

That means the couple will not be able to hold on to their military, Commonwealth and some other patronages - including the Prince's role of Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington, near Bury St Edmunds.

The Prince has been Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington since 2008. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Prince had been Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington since 2008 - Credit: Gregg Brown

Bernie Millard, a former Royal Marine for seven years who now chairs the Bury St Edmunds Royal British Legion (RBL) branch, said he was "disappointed" Harry would no longer fulfill the Honington role which the Duke has held since 2008.

Speaking in a personal capacity, he said: "It's a big blow that he's not going to do that any more.

Prince Harry inspects the honour guard as he arrives at RAF Honington in Suffolk where will present

Prince Harry inspects a Guard of Honour on a visit to RAF Honington - Credit: PA

"It's a great shame. I'm not in full possession of the why they decided that's what they're going to do, but I know he's been under tremendous pressure.

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"Like many royals, they are faced with constant bombardment.

"He's got his own reasons and it's not for me to criticise that, but from the outside I think it's a great shame.

"Speaking as someone who served in the forces, I find it so sad and disappointing. It's a great pity."

Ken Rowbottom, chairman of Suffolk RBL, added: "It's rather sad that he's had to give up all these titles, which he loved doing."

Prince Harry visited Honington in 2017 where he presented a new colour to No 26 Squadron RAF Regiment.

The Honington title was bestowed on the Duke by the Queen. It was designed to promote the role of the air force to the public.

Mr Rowbottom added: "As an ex-military man, he served 10 years in the army and these roles still gave him that link.

"He loved being in the military and it still meant he had a foot in all camps.

"He loved in honorary appointments and he did a very good job with them. He was keen, enthusiastic and dedicated to all those appointments.

"The fact he's had to relinquish them means it's a sad day for everyone."

Stepping back from Royal duties also means Harry will no longer be Captain General of the Royal Marines or Honorary Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Commands' Small Ships and Diving.

He has also had to relinquish his role as president of The Queen's Commonwealth Trust and will no longer be patron of the Rugby Football Union and the Rugby Football League - roles which he took over from the Queen.

In addition, Harry is no longer patron of the London Marathon Charitable Trust.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have confirmed to Her Majesty The Queen that they will not be returning as working members of the Royal Family.

"Following conversations with the Duke, the Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of the Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.

"The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by the Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family.

"While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family."

The Prince previously served in Afghanistan as an Army officer and was based at Wattisham airfield, in Suffolk, after qualifying as an Apache helicopter pilot.

RAF Honington said it would not be commenting, saying it was a matter for Royal Household.

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