Royal Navy Admiral advises Prince Harry to ‘decline’ ESPY award or face THIS | World News - Hindustan Times
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Royal Navy Admiral advises Prince Harry to ‘decline’ ESPY award or face THIS

Jul 09, 2024 11:56 PM IST

Prince Harry faces backlash over Pat Tillman Award, with Admiral Lord Alan West and Pat Tillman's mother urging him to decline the honor.

The former head of the Royal Navy has been urging Prince Harry to reconsider accepting an award named after an American war hero.

Britain's Prince Harry leaves after attending an Invictus Games Foundation 10th Anniversary Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral in London, Wednesday, May 8, 2024. (AP)
Britain's Prince Harry leaves after attending an Invictus Games Foundation 10th Anniversary Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral in London, Wednesday, May 8, 2024. (AP)

This week, Prince Harry became embroiled in controversy following the decision to honor him with the Pat Tillman Award for his work with the Invictus Games.

The award is named after Pat Tillman, a former professional American football player who left his sports career to join the US Army in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Tillman was later killed in Afghanistan.

Prince Harry, who also served in two tours in Afghanistan, was scheduled to receive the award from Serena Williams at a glamorous ESPN-hosted ceremony.

However, Tillman's own mother, Mary Tillman urged reconsideration and even filed a petition urging ESPN to select a different recipient. She believes there are more deserving recipients than the Duke of Sussex, whom she described as “controversial and divisive.”

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Royal Navy Admiral warns Prince Harry of ‘bad publicity’ over military award

Admiral Lord Alan West, who served as the head of the Royal Navy from 2002 to 2006, has now advised Prince Harry to decline the award to avoid offending military veterans.

Admiral West expressed his concerns to Daily Mail, saying that accepting the award “wouldn’t travel well with people in the military” and would result in “rather bad publicity.” Her sentiment has been echoed by over 70,000 people who have signed a Change.org petition urging ESPN to “rethink” its decision.

“I really think Harry should be well advised to sit back and not accept awards like this. It doesn’t travel well with people in the military. And when the mother of the man who died doesn’t want him to get this award, he should think about that,” he added.

“My advice to him is to sit back and not accept any awards at the moment. They are going his way because he has such a high profile and people want to take advantage of that.”

Admiral West also noted, “He ought to think very hard and long about accepting awards for things like being an exceptional pilot and being exceptionally brave. Some of the blame must lie with ESPN. They like picking him because it gives them immense publicity. But this is rather bad publicity for Harry.”

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Prince Harry finds criticism of his military record particularly hard to accept

A source told The Telegraph, “Harry’s legacy on Invictus, the things he has achieved, that’s his real passion. This is the space in which he truly feels at home, it is something he deeply cares about. The reaction certainly took the shine off the award.”

Tom Bower, a biographer of Harry and Meghan, told Daily Mail, “The backlash will make it more difficult for Harry’s team to get awards in the future. Prince Harry inhabits a gilded bubble seemingly unaware about the deep antagonism he and his wife have created. It’s become normal for his staff to lobby for important awards to shore up his reputation.”

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