Openly gay soldier Lance Corporal James Wharton developed a strong friendship with Prince Harry during their time in the military. In an upcoming memoir, Wharton recounts a frightening anti-gay episode in 2008 in which the ginger-haired prince boldly came to his rescue after he was threatened by a group of fellow soldiers.
Standing in front of me were six extremely angry infantry sergeants. ‘Have you been spreading rumours about our Martin?’ I was asked.
I didn’t even know his name. ‘Why have you been lying? He’s no faggot!’
This was turning into a bit of a situation. Danny told them everything he’d seen and to back off. Under huge pressure I went back to my vehicle to find Prince Harry.
‘Sir, I need to talk to you.’ ‘Why? What’s up? Are you OK?’
Harry instantly looked concerned. I told him: ‘I think I’m about 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 didn’t hold back: I told him everything that had gone on. I couldn’t stop the tears from welling up in my eyes. He said: ‘Right. I’m going to sort this s*** out once and for all.’
Harry climbed out of the tank and started having a go. I worried he was about to make the whole thing worse, but he wasn’t holding back. Prince Harry was sticking up for me and putting a stop to the trouble. I had been on track for a battering and had been rescued.
He came back ten minutes later and told me the problem had been ‘sorted’. He told me: ‘I knew one of his officers and we cleared everything up. I also told those other lads to back the f*** off, too.’
The two friends even discussed the popularity of Harry and his brother William in the gay community.
Harry mentioned that he and his brother had been informed some time ago that they were both gay icons, which made me laugh.
He replied: ‘What? What? We are!’
‘I don’t think you are, sir!’ I said.
‘Why? We are! Our press people told us!’ Harry insisted.
I said: ‘Honestly, I’m sure you’re not . . .’
And he replied: ‘Is it because I’m f***ing ginger?’
Dan giggled, Harry laughed and we returned to the task at hand.
Read the full excerpt from Wharton’s book, courtesy of the Daily Mail, here.
You can watch Wharton’s “It Gets Better” video from a couple of years ago, below