Self-serving Prince Harry can’t fool America – his award for ‘service’ after abandoning his country insults true heroes

PRINCE Harry’s selection as this year’s recipient of ESPN’s Pat Tillman ESPY Award for Service has left many of us Americans astonished.

On our shores, many view the Duke of Sussex as a controversial figure who has betrayed his family and, against the wishes of his much-admired and beloved grandmother, trades on his royal title for financial gain and public recognition.

Prince Harry has been criticised after being named as the recipient of a US award for 'service'


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Prince Harry has been criticised after being named as the recipient of a US award for ‘service’Credit: Getty

The award honours Pat Tillman, a former NFL player who gave up his career to serve in the US Army
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The award honours Pat Tillman, a former NFL player who gave up his career to serve in the US ArmyCredit: Getty

In 2004, Tillman was killed while on patrol in Afghanistan


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In 2004, Tillman was killed while on patrol in AfghanistanCredit: Alamy
This episode, not the first of its kind involving Harry, raises significant
questions about the value of such Hollywood awards and the broader implications of rewarding public figures based on their profile rather than their achievements.

The Pat Tillman Award, named in honour of the former NFL player who left a lucrative sports career to serve in the American military and ultimately sacrificed his life for his country, holds a deeply symbolic value.

Pat Tillman embodies the spirit of selflessness, duty, and patriotism, having made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.

In stark contrast, Prince Harry’s actions have demonstrated a departure from these ideals, having abandoned his country and royal service to pursue self-serving goals.

Mary Tillman, Pat’s mother, has openly expressed her dismay at Harry’s selection, describing him as a “controversial and divisive individual” and asserting that there are “far more fitting” recipients within the veteran community.

Her comments reflect a broader sentiment among those who believe that Harry’s nomination diminishes the value of the award and disrespects Tillman’s legacy.

Since stepping back from royal duties, Harry has engaged in numerous high-profile media ventures, including lucrative deals with Netflix and Spotify, and public interviews in which he has been critical of his family and the monarchy.

The Tillman award is intended to recognise individuals who have exemplified service, character, and leadership.

While Harry has been involved in charitable endeavours, most notably through his work with veterans and the Invictus Games, these efforts do not outweigh his more contentious actions and public statements.

The award should go to someone whose contributions more closely align with Tillman’s example of selfless service and sacrifice.
Harry’s Hollywood relaunch is crumbling – world will never forget what the ‘privileged’ Prince has done, blasts expert
Public backlash has been significant, with a petition on Change.org urging ESPN to reconsider the decision, garnering over 70,000 signatures.

The petition contends that awarding Prince Harry “diminishes its value and disrespects Tillman’s memory.”

This sentiment is echoed by many who feel that Harry’s high profile and privilege overshadow more deserving candidates who lack his resources and connections.

Critics, including former NFL player Pat McAfee, have labeled the decision as “embarrassing”, accusing ESPN of attempting to provoke controversy rather than honour true service.

Harry will receive the award on Thursday at the ESPY Awards
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Harry will receive the award on Thursday at the ESPY AwardsCredit: Getty

Prince Harry and Meghan Meghan on Oprah Winfrey back in 2021
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Prince Harry and Meghan Meghan on Oprah Winfrey back in 2021Credit: Reuters
The backlash has reportedly left Prince Harry “stunned” and saddened, as he considers his work with veterans and the Invictus Games to be his true passion.

However, for many Americans, his personal controversies and perceived exploitation of his royal status for financial gain overshadow his charitable efforts

Earlier this year, Prince Harry’s induction into the Living Legends of Aviation Hall of Fame sparked similar criticism.

Who was Pat Tillman?

THE late Pat Tillman is remembered as a hero by many in the US.

In 2002, he gave up a £3million contract in the NFL, with the Arizona Cardinals, to enlist in the US Army after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Pat went on to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan until 2004 when he was killed by friendly fire. Initially his death was reported to have been caused by the Taliban.

The American football star, who was just 27 years old at the time of his death, was one of the most famous soldiers since Elvis Presley.

He was posthumously promoted from specialist to corporal and received the Silver Star and Purple Heart medals.

The Pat Tillman Award for Service was established in 2014 to commemorate the sportsman and war hero.

It’s awarded annually by ESPN at the annual ESPY Awards to people from the sporting world who have made significant contributions to the lives of others.

Critics argued that Harry’s contributions to aviation, serving as a gunner in an Apache helicopter, do not warrant such a prestigious title compared to other inductees, and that many other military pilots have performed similar or more impressive feats without receiving such recognition.

The idea of rewarding a Royal Prince who abandoned his duty and capitalised on his title for personal gain is an affront to the legacy of Pat Tillman and is even more misplaced than ludicrously naming Harry a “Legend of Aviation.”

More discretion must be exhibited in the selection of award recipients, ensuring that they truly represent the values and qualities
embodied by the award.

To do otherwise is quite frankly offensive and ridiculous.

Lee Cohen, an author and Royal commentator was adviser on Great Britain to the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

Lee Cohen is the former adviser on Great Britain to the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee
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Lee Cohen is the former adviser on Great Britain to the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs CommitteeCredit: bowgroup.org

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