James Wharton, one of the British army’s first openly gay soldiers, has spoken for the first time about Prince Harry stepping into to defend him against homophobic colleagues.
In an interview with Forces Network in the United Kingdom, Wharton spoke of the time when Prince Harry, who was his tank commander in 2008, stood up to colleagues who had made him feel “uncomfortable” about his sexuality.
“I’d got myself into a bit of a situation with some soldiers from another regiment and, essentially, they didn’t like the fact I was gay,” Mr Wharton recalled to Forces Network.
“They were sort-of chest poking me and making me feel quite uncomfortable.
“I got into my tank where Prince Harry was doi ng something, and he could see that I was clearly affected by something and he asked me what the problem was.
“I told him that there were a couple of soldiers outside who weren’t very happy with the fact I was gay.”
According to Wharton, the Duke of Sussex was “quite offended” by his fellow soldiers’ behaviour and after the prince spoke to them, “the problem went away.”
“Prince Harry went out and saw these soldiers and spoke to them, and the problem went away.
“He told them off and they left me alone.”
Prince Harry’s LGBTQ allyship has been well documented and has garnered him favourable comparisons to his mother, Princess Diana, who worked to destigmatize the lesbian and gay community in the United Kingdom during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s.
Last year, his mental health charity, Heads Together, invited Mermaid, a U.K.-based transgender youth charity, to join its wellness efforts.
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The collaboration was considered noteworthy given that Mermaids — and transgender advocates more broadly — had been subject to vocal criticism by the public and media in the U.K.
Harry’s wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has also been lauded by the LGBTQ community for reportedly telling her friends that she plans to raise their son, Archie, with a “fluid” approach to gender, including a gender-neutral nursery, according to Vanity Fair.