Harry informed to ‘turn down award’ and given brutal verbal slap by ex-naval chief

Prince Harry has been criticised by a former Royal Navy chief over his nomination for the esteemed Pat Tillman Award for Service, set to be presented at a glamorous awards ceremony in the US this month.

The Duke of Sussex’s receipt of the Pat Tillman Award for Service at this year’s ESPY (Excellence in Sport Performance Yearly) Awards was announced in June. The event, taking place in Los Angeles on July 11, will be hosted by tennis superstar and Meghan Markle’s friend, Serena Williams.

The awards, named after ex-NFL player and US Army Ranger Pat Tillman who tragically lost his life in Afghanistan in 2004, are given out by sports channel ESPN to those in the sports industry who have significantly impacted others’ lives. However, the announcement sparked global controversy, with a petition being launched urging the awards organisers to reconsider their decision.

Even Tillman’s mother, Mary, expressed her surprise to the Mail about Harry’s nomination, stating there “are recipients that are far more fitting”, reports the Express.

Admiral Lord Alan West, who served as First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff from 2002-06, has now hit back at the royal, issuing him an eight-word warning regarding his nomination. Lord West cautioned Harry to “he ought to think very hard and long” about accepting certain awards as it “doesn’t travel well with people in the military”. He further advised him to decline the Pat Tillman award.

The Labour peer slammed Prince Harry in a chat with the Mail, saying: “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.”

The Lord also dished out some advice to the Duke, suggesting he should “to sit back and not accept awards like this”.

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

Admiral Lord Alan West
Admiral Lord Alan West criticised Prince Harry

Prince Harry, meanwhile, is in the spotlight for creating the Invictus Games ten years ago, which aims to aid injured and sick military personnel and veterans dealing with both physical and psychological wounds.

ESPN praised Harry for his “tireless work in making a positive impact for the veteran community through the power of sport”, stating that the Invictus Games have “transcended borders and impacted lives across every continent”. On the flip side, insiders speaking to The Telegraph revealed that the Duke was “stunned” by the negative reaction.

They spilled the beans: “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.”