A gay British soldier who believed he was going to be bashed to death by troops from a rival regiment says Prince Harry rescued him from a homophobic attack.
Harry was his tank commander back in 2008 when the incident happened. Trooper James Wharton told the prince that he feared he was going to be murdered after six soldiers threatened to “batter” him.
‘I told him, ‘I think I’m going to be murdered by the infantry.’ I climbed into the turret and talked Harry through exactly what had happened. He had a complete look of bewilderment on his face.
“I couldn’t stop the tears from welling up in my eyes. He said, ‘Right, I’m going to sort this shit out once and for all.’”
“He climbed out of the tank and I poked my head out of the turret a few moments later to see him having a go,” Wharton said.
“I could see he wasn’t holding back.”
Wharton (pictured above) says Harry also warned the other soldiers they would face severe discipline if they continued to threaten the gay trooper.
“I will always be grateful to Harry and I will never forget what happened.” Wharton now reflects. “Until he went over and dealt with everything I was on track for a battering.”
The revelations come as Wharton’s book about his 10-year military career is about to be published, with extracts appearing in British paper the Daily Mail.
A former Lance Corporal, Wharton was one of the servicemen who made up the official escort for the Queen as she went to Westminster Abbey for the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
He quit the army this year, bringing to an end a high-profile role as the most prominent out gay soldier in the UK.
Wharton says he and Harry served together in Canada for several months, sharing many stories and laughs during their training.
“Harry happened to mention that he and his brother had been told they were gay icons, the former solider recalls. “I laughed and told him that I didn’t think that was the case. He became really adamant saying, “What? What? We are! Our press people told us.”
“Harry then asked if he couldn’t be a gay icon because he was ginger. It was all very funny.”