King Charles, pictured speaking with Marines after attending a memorial service in London when he was Prince of Wales, has taken over as Captain General it was announced today
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King Charles was today announced as the new ceremonial head of the Royal Marines, a role previously held by his son, Prince Harry.

In a sign of the sensitivity of the situation, the Mail can reveal that Harry was informed of his father’s decision to take on the role himself before it was made public.

The prince had been appointed Captain General by his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, in 2017 following the Duke of Edinburgh’s decision to retire from public life.

The Queen’s husband had held the title with huge distinction for more than 64 years and his grandson cherished the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.

He was photographed with his late grandfather as he carried out his last official duty as Captain General before inheriting the position.

Following his acrimonious decision to quit royal duties and move to the US in 2019, Harry had hoped to still hold on to the position, as well as his other honorary military roles.

But after his grandmother made clear that it would be impossible for himself and Meghan to pursue commercial careers while undertaking royal duties, he was stripped of the office.

In a statement in February 2021, Buckingham Palace said: ‘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 Sussexes retaliated with a statement of their own, which many saw as a direct and intensely disrespectful response to the Queen’s comment on their inability to dedicate themselves to ‘a life of public service’ while pursuing their fortunes in the States.

‘We can all live a life of service. Service is universal,’ the couple said.

King Charles, pictured speaking with Marines after attending a memorial service in London when he was Prince of Wales, has taken over as Captain General it was announced today

King Charles, pictured speaking with Marines after attending a memorial service in London when he was Prince of Wales, has taken over as Captain General it was announced today

Prince Harry, who served during the war in Afghanistan in the British Army (pictured), was told that his role would revert to his father before the announcement was made public

Prince Harry, who served during the war in Afghanistan in the British Army (pictured), was told that his role would revert to his father before the announcement was made public

Harry (pictured left at an event at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in 2019) was said to be saddened to be stripped of the position as ceremonial head of the Commando regiment following Megxit in 2020. Pictured right: Charles – then Prince of Wales – at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, last year

The Duke of Sussex was appointed Captain General by the Queen in December 2017, succeeding Prince Philip, pictured

The Duke of Sussex was appointed Captain General by the Queen in December 2017, succeeding Prince Philip, pictured

Their spokesman added that they would ‘remain committed to their duty and service to the UK and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role’.

The role of Captain General of the Royal Marines – as well as Harry’s appointments with RAF Honington and the Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving – reverted to the Queen.

Although some had speculated that Princess Anne would subsequently become the first woman to hold the role, no new appointment was made until today.

Until Philip was given the role by his wife in 1953, the position was held by a succession of sovereigns: King George V, King Edward VIII and King George VI, Charles’ great-grandfather, great uncle and grandfather.

The Queen had, however, been keen to pay tribute to her husband’s own proud military career – which he was forced to give up when they married – and he proved to be a much loved and popular ceremonial head.

He remained in the post for 64 years and 201 days.

His funeral last year, which he planned himself, involved a strong presence from the force.

A Royal Marine Bearer Party carried his coffin from his Land Rover Hearse into St George’s Chapel, while the Last Post was played by one of their buglers.

Although today’s announcement came just a day after Prince Harry’s publishers announced his controversial memoir, Spare, would be published in January, there was no co-relation between the two events.

Buckingham Palace hadn’t been expecting the announcement and had long planned to reveal the king’s new role on the 358th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Marines, formed on October 28 1664 during King Charles II’s reign.

The new king today praised them for their ‘courage, determination, self-discipline and a remarkable capacity to endure in the most extreme environments’.

Widely acknowledged as one of the world’s elite fighting forces, the Royal Marine Commandos are the amphibious troops of the Royal Navy.

They are deployed across the globe as specialists in combat in extreme climates, serving on the most dangerous operations under the most challenging conditions.

In a personal message to the Royal Marines, Charles said: ‘It is the greatest possible pleasure to assume the role of your Captain General.

‘I am exceptionally proud to follow in the footsteps of so many members of my family over the last three and a half centuries, all of whom held the role with a deep sense of admiration.

‘The Royal Marines have a distinguished and unparalleled history, both on land and at sea.

‘I draw immense inspiration from your courage, determination, self-discipline and a remarkable capacity to endure in the most extreme environments.

‘I feel greatly honoured to become part of the Corps Family and very much look forward to meeting many of you in the near future.

‘In the meantime, this comes with my heartfelt and special wishes for a very happy 358th birthday.’

He concluded with their motto Per Mare, Per Terram – By Land, By Sea.

As Prince of Wales, the King embarked on a career in the Royal Navy, undergoing training at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) in Devon in order to qualify as a helicopter pilot in 1972.

His Majesty later served alongside Royal Marines on board HMS Hermes, as part of 845 Naval Air Squadron, completing military exercises in the Western Atlantic and the West Indies.

Since their founding, the Royal Marines have taken part in more battles on land and sea around the world than any other branch of the UK Armed Forces.

They are currently operating in the Mediterranean, forging closer bonds with NATO allies and partners.

Commandos are also deployed in the Middle East to disrupt the global drugs trade, and will soon be operating in Oman.

Harry was said to be saddened when his prestigious title was removed by the Queen in 2020 after he and Meghan announced they would step down as working royals and move to California. 

The Duke of Sussex was appointed Captain General by the Queen in December 2017, succeeding Prince Philip. Today’s announcement comes just a day after Harry unveiled his ‘provocative’ new memoir Spare – a ‘loaded’ reference to his position as the younger brother of the heir to the throne. 

In a personal message to the Royal Marines as they mark their 358th birthday today, the King said: ‘It is the greatest possible pleasure to assume the role of your Captain General. I am exceptionally proud to follow in the footsteps of so many members of my family over the last three-and-a-half centuries, all of whom held the role with a deep sense of admiration.

The duke also lost his other formal roles with the military including Honorary Air Force Commandant of the Royal Air Force Base Honington, and Honorary Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Commands’ Small Ships and Diving.

Harry, a former Army officer with a passion for the military family, had been eager to hold onto his formal links with the UK’s Armed Forces. 

Prince William had initially been expected to succeed his brother as Captain General after a Buckingham Palace statement insisted they would be handed to ‘working members of the Royal Family’. 

However, growing tensions between the pair following Megxit meant making such a move would be seen as unnecessarily provocative, reports suggested. 

Instead, Princess Anne was mooted as the most likely candidate due to her being the ‘least controversial choice’. 

The King is a Royal Navy veteran, and served alongside the Royal Marines on board HMS Hermes, as part of 845 Naval Air Squadron, completing military exercises in the Western Atlantic and the West Indies. 

As Prince of Wales, the King embarked on a career in the Royal Navy, undergoing training at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) in Lympstone, Devon, in order to qualify as a helicopter pilot

As Prince of Wales, the King embarked on a career in the Royal Navy, undergoing training at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) in Lympstone, Devon, in order to qualify as a helicopter pilot

His Majesty later served alongside Royal Marines on board HMS Hermes, as part of 845 Naval Air Squadron, completing military exercises in the Western Atlantic and the West Indies

His Majesty later served alongside Royal Marines on board HMS Hermes, as part of 845 Naval Air Squadron, completing military exercises in the Western Atlantic and the West Indies

Alongside his new role, he will continue to hold the rank of Admiral of the Fleet in the Royal Navy. 

Today’s development comes just a day after new details were revealed about Prince Harry’s ‘nuclear’ memoir. 

Billed as a work of ‘raw, unflinching honesty’, the controversial book will be called Spare – a ‘loaded’ reference to his position as the younger brother of the heir to the throne. 

Family members were not informed of the title in advance of the announcement yesterday, while the Spanish language version is even more pointed, having been given the subtitle En La Sombra, or ‘in the shadow’. 

An initial release date had been pencilled in for ‘late 2022’ to capitalise on the lucrative Christmas market, but the book will not be on the shelves until January 10 – said to be as a mark of respect following the death of the Queen, and, it is rumoured, due to last-minute alterations requested by the duke. 

A spokesman for the King declined to comment on the book last night. But it is understood that the Royal Household has already been warned that the 416-page, £28 book is ‘critical of everyone and everything’ and they are ‘dreading’ it. 

The King holds the honorary rank of Admiral of the Fleet in the Royal Navy. In this old photo, he is seen meeting servicemen

The King holds the honorary rank of Admiral of the Fleet in the Royal Navy. In this old photo, he is seen meeting servicemen

Among the grievances Harry may air is the decision to ‘ban’ him from wearing military uniform during the Queen’s funeral.  

Following a series of reports about the issue, the Duke of Sussex’s spokesman issued a pointed statement, which read: ‘[Prince Harry] will wear a morning suit throughout events honouring his grandmother. 

‘His decade of military service is not determined by the uniform he wears and we respectfully ask that focus remain on the life and legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.’ 

Only working royals – which Harry and his uncle Andrew are not – are being permitted to dress in uniform at five ceremonial occasions. 

After you’ve seen the reality show AND bought the book – what else can brand Harry and Meghan offer? Experts warn the Sussexes risk becoming ‘boring’ – but there are still two more books to come as part of Prince’s ‘£18.4m’ deal

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are at risk of losing out on more lucrative media deals by being seen as ‘boring’, a public relations expert said today – as he warned the success of Harry’s controversial memoir would be crucial to their financial future.

The Duke of Sussex’s autobiography, which has the pointed title Spare, was unveiled yesterday. He was reportedly paid a £18.4million advance for the book as part of a three-title deal worth £36.8m. 

The book will be published on January 10, just weeks after Harry and Meghan’s equally controversial Netflix documentary – believed to be part of a £100m deal – is due to be aired.

Together with a £100m deal with Spotify, which includes Meghan’s Archetypes podcast, the agreements provide the couple with significant financial firepower. 

But this could be at risk in the future if the public begins to tire of their regular pronouncements, according to PR and marketing expert Mark Borkowski.  

‘The most important thing in the modern world is that they generate column inches and eyeballs – everything will come down to the success of the book and the deals with Netflix and Spotify,’ he told MailOnline. 

‘If they do well then they could still be attractive to media outlets looking for subscribers. Given they’re no longer connected to the Royal Family with the exposure that brings they need to create their own energy. The danger is they become boring.’

The Duke of Sussex's autobiography, which has the pointed title Spare, was unveiled yesterday. It is just one of a series of commercial ventures the couple have engaged in

The Duke of Sussex’s autobiography, which has the pointed title Spare, was unveiled yesterday. It is just one of a series of commercial ventures the couple have engaged in 

Mr Borkowski said the couple’s expensive lifestyle – which revolves around their £11million Montecito mansion – could see them partner with a Silicon Valley tech firm such as Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta. 

The firm’s share price recently plummeted amid concerns Mr Zuckerberg’s multi-billion dollar investment in the idea of the ‘metaverse’ – a series of virtual worlds where users can engage with each other in virtual reality – would fail to pay off. 

‘There’s a bit of a downturn in tech at the moment but I’d expect that as the dust settles we could see them sign another deal in that industry,’ Mr Borkowski said. 

‘Meta are facing huge problems so who better to generate a conversation around their idea of the metaverse than Harry and Meghan? They could be promoting it or creating their own virtual world themselves.’ 

Meanwhile, brand expert Nick Ede predicted Spare would open up new commercial opportunities for Harry and Meghan. 

‘I think the next step for Harry will be the very lucrative public speaking circuit,’ he told MailOnline. ‘Harry will read extracts from his book at events around the world with a Q&A. 

‘I also think he will make a lot of money through an exclusive sit-down interview with a journalist to promote the book. These kinds of sit-downs can command in the six-to-seven figures and I’m sure they’ll be a bidding war.

‘And with the book being so explosive he could even look to sell the film rights to it. Again that would be highly lucrative.’     

Publisher Penguin Random House confirming the £28 book 'full of insight, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom' will be released on January 10. The title page shows Harry staring at the camera in a brown T-shirt and a black string necklace

Publisher Penguin Random House yesterday confirmed the £28 book ‘full of insight, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom’ will be released on January 10. The cover shows Harry staring at the camera in a brown T-shirt and a black string necklace

Spare, which is available to pre-order, will cost £28 hardcover, £13.99 as an eBook, £20 as an audio download and £25 as a CD. It will be released simultaneously in the US, UK and Canada, with 15 foreign language editions, including one in Spanish entitled Spare: En La Sombra (Spare: In The Shadow)

Spare, which is available to pre-order, will cost £28 hardcover, £13.99 as an eBook, £20 as an audio download and £25 as a CD. It will be released simultaneously in the US, UK and Canada, with 15 foreign language editions, including one in Spanish entitled Spare: En La Sombra (Spare: In The Shadow)

The Royal Family’s lawyers remain on standby for Prince Harry’s ‘nuclear’ memoir, amid fears it is ‘critical of everyone and everything’ and that reports of it being toned down are ‘overblown’.

‘It could not come at a worse time’: Royal authors say delayed book will make King ‘nervous’ as he plans coronation 

King Charles will be ‘nervous’ after hearing Prince Harry’s tell-all memoir is slated for release on January 10, royal experts said today – amid speculation the New Year publication date suggests the royal has succeeded in his bid to water down its content. 

The memoir had initially been signed off ready for an expected autumn release as part of a multi-million pound, three-title deal with Penguin Random House. But its publication was delayed following the Queen’s death, and Harry is said to have requested a number of alterations to make it less critical of the Royal Family. 

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams warned the book’s release would be ‘unhelpful’ to King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort. ‘It was never a good idea for Harry, fifth in line to the throne, a Counsellor of State and only 38, to write a memoir which by its nature would be highly controversial,’ he told MailOnline. 

‘All of this will almost certainly be unhelpful to King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla, in the early months of his reign. It may well widen the rift between the royal family’s and the Sussexes in the pivotal period leading to King Charles’s coronation. ‘

Biographer Tom Bower suggested commercial imperatives would ensure the final manuscript still contains plenty of criticism of the Royal Family. ‘To those who have speculated that Harry wanted to dilute his ghost-written text to remove the most offensive descriptions of Charles, William and Kate, one can only surmise that his book can only be a global commercial success if a healthy dollop of poison remains,’ he said. 

Meghan’s biographer Tom Bower suggested the couple’s Netflix series would create useful publicity for the memoir. 

‘The curtain raiser to the Sussexes’ vengeance will be their Netflix series – a lucrative trailblazer to the book, clearly updated to describe their unexpected lengthy stay in London during the Queen’s funeral,’ he told MailOnline. 

‘Viewers and readers can expect scathing comments about their treatment by Harry’s family. Wallowing in self-pity, the Sussexes will portray themselves as victims of uncaring charlatans.’

Spare’s title page shows Harry staring sternly at the camera in a brown T-shirt and a black string necklace. An unabridged audiobook will be read by the prince himself. 

The 416-page autobiography – which some retailers have cut to half-price for pre-order copies – was expected to hit bookshelves this autumn but there has been speculation that the date was pushed back as a mark of respect following the death of the Queen, and, it is rumoured, to make changes to the publication and remove potentially damaging material. 

However, it appears the tone of the book has darkened since it was first announced in July last year. While the memoir was then-described as an ‘inspiring, courageous, and uplifting human story’, yesterday’s promotion calls it a ‘personal journey from trauma to healing’. 

Royal author Richard Fitzwilliams suggested the Royal Family would be ‘very concerned’ by how the book was being promoted. 

‘It is a sensational title and implies that the writer was not valued or certainly that he did not feel at the centre of events,’ he told MailOnline. ‘When the blurb speaks of ”raw, unflinching honesty” the Palace will be very concerned, especially since these are the early months of King Charles’s reign.

‘There will undoubtedly be interviews, serialisation and endless speculation about this memoir, which in my view should have waited many years. Even Edward VIII, by then the Duke of Windsor, waited until 1951 before A King’s Story was published. The consequences of this will be far-reaching and may be highly destructive.’ 

The Royal Family has not been given a chance to see the manuscript before publication, so will be unable to respond to any of its claims through their lawyers.    

William and Kate visit Sandringham to look at tributes and flowers laid for the late Queen last month

William and Kate visit Sandringham to look at tributes and flowers laid for the late Queen last month

It is understood that Harry, seen with his wife Meghan in New York last year, was paid a $20million (£18.4m) advance for the autobiography as part of a three-title deal worth £36.8m

It is understood that Harry, seen with his wife Meghan in New York last year, was paid a $20million (£18.4million) advance for the autobiography as part of a three-title deal worth £36.8million

The publication date was announced in a press release yesterday, which referred to Harry as a ‘husband, father, humanitarian, military veteran, mental wellness advocate and environmentalist’ who ‘resides in Santa Barbara, California, with his family and three dogs’. 

‘Spare takes readers immediately back to one of the most searing images of the Twentieth Century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow — and horror,’ the release said. 

‘As Diana, Princess of Wales, was laid to rest, billions wondered what the princes must be thinking and feeling—and how their lives would play out from that point on. For Harry, this is his story at last. With its raw, unflinching honesty, Spare is a landmark publication full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.’

The memoir, which is available to pre-order, will cost £28 hardcover, £13.99 as an eBook, £20 as an audio download and £25 as a CD. It will be available in English in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa and Canada, while the book will also be published in 15 additional languages, including Spanish, Italian, German and Chinese. Representatives for the King and Kensington Palace have declined to comment. 

Publisher Penguin Random House has said the duke had donated $1.5million (£1.3million) to children’s charity Sentebale and £300,000 to WellChild, a charity for disabled children for which he serves as patron. 

Announcing the global publishing deal this year, Penguin Random House described the memoir as 'intimate and heartfelt'

Announcing the global publishing deal this year, Penguin Random House described the memoir as ‘intimate and heartfelt’

Archetypes was launched with the aim of investigating 'labels that try to hold women back' through conversations between Meghan and historians, experts and women who have experienced being typecast

Archetypes was launched with the aim of investigating ‘labels that try to hold women back’ through conversations between Meghan and historians, experts and women who have experienced being typecast

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