Okay, so what are 'military patronages'? (Harry Sussex)

Groan. OK, so Harry Sussex is giving up his “military patronages”, which sound to me like honorary ranks in various branches of the UK military: Captain General of the Royal Marines, Lieutenant Commander of the Royal Navy, Major of the British Army, Squadron Leader of the RAF; that sort of thing.

Harry did serve ten years in the Army and Army Air Corps as, I think, a Lieutenant (at least to start). So what’s up with these ‘patronages’, to which he was apparently appointed?

Is it a PR thing of some sort, where Harry can throw on a Royal Navy uniform when the Queen wants some publicity for a naval event, and since he needs a rank to do that let’s call him a Lieutenant Commander - something respectably high since he’s a Prince, not some prole? Does he fit into the chain of command anywhere? Can the RAF call him up if they want?

Patronage implies to me that he either is supporting something financially, or controlling access to appointments or privileges. Does he do either?

No, these are ceremonial and honorary positions, not substantive commands.

For example, the Commandant General of the Royal Marines is a professional position, currently held by Major Gen’l Matthew Holmes, while the Captain General is the titular head and has always been a senior royal. Similarly, the Lord High Admiral is a ceremonial title, since the Restoration occasionally granted to a senior royal but often left vacant for decades at a time, while the First Sea Lord is the guy who actually runs the Royal Navy.

A bit more than just drumming up publicity. Much of the business of titles and ranks attached to the “working royals” is about symbolising a more permanent association, however ceremonial. That’s why they get a collection of geographical titles linked to each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Likewise, they might get an honorary/ceremonial association with different units in the armed forces, which means they preside, as representing the monarch at that unit’s big events - parades, medal ceremonies, launching new equipment or paying off old equipment, and so on.

No. Though anyone in this position might, separately, have had enough military training and experience to be on the reserve lists, and some have had full careers in the military as their primary job.

It’s not the word I would have chosen for this. I would understand it as meaning purely lending prestige to a charitable or non-profit “good cause” organisation. Whereas the formal associations with military units is more of a constitutional symbol.

Perhaps to emphasise the importance of the ceremonial as opposed to the command and fund-raising aspect, a regiment of the Norwegian Army has a penguin as its Colonel-in-Chief. To be fair he’s worked his way up the ranks, and he is a King Penguin so the Daily MAil can’t get whipped up abut commoners.

It seems a missed opportunity for Britain. Surely they have a stoat somewhere who won’t embarrass the family.

It’s all ceremonial. Ceremonial commands are a big thing in Commonwealth armed forces; my (Canadian) squadron had a ceremonial colonel. Several, actually, over the course of my service. They were local dignitaries; I guess the idea was that it was a way to forge a bond with civilian power and the community.

Thank you for the replies thus far.

I can envision a spectrum of ceremony/symbolism, ranging from the penguin colonel or Emperor of the United States at one end, to the nobleman who establishes and funds a regiment at the other end, with ‘goodwill ambassadors’ like Serena Williams in between. The goodwill ambassador uses their fame to attract attention to certain issues, lobbies politicians, goes on tour to boost the morale of relief workers, sits on the boards of NGOs, etc. It seems so far that these patronages are most like the goodwill ambassador type, then? Maybe verging toward the penguin colonel? Harry for example is a founder of the Invictus Games, but that seems to be separate from any of his patronage roles, yes?

I think it’s worth noting here that the penguin lives in Scotland and basically only performs any duties when the Norwegian Royal Guard (the regiment/batalion in question) participates in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

BTW, and given the OP has been answered, I don’t think it’s correct to call him Harry Sussex. I believe in school and the military he and his brother used “Windsor” as a last name, but he never Sussex as a last name.

The uniforms and ceremonies are quite important. If a royal who actually served in, for example, the RAF, is at an Army ceremony to hand out some medals many people feel better if he’s wearing an Army uniform (and has a title in the Army) rather than an Air Force one.

On the royal website it mentions in his military biography he went by Captain Harry Wales in the Army. His father and brother both used that as their last name in the military. When he left the military he was a captain in the Army Air Corps flying Apaches. His status obviously got him whatever job he wanted but he did put in the work.

Prince Charles is the Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps.

In the military they both used “Wales” as a surname, but they’ve both now got titles - dukedoms - in their own right so “Cambridge” and “Sussex” are available to use if needed when filling in forms etc. The Royals just tend to sign things with their first name anyway, with the Queen signing “Elizabeth R”.

That was the example in my mind of patronage, of the kind I assume he would be most unlikely to give up, as being an independent good cause, as distinct from a part of the Crown’s formal links to institutions in governmental service.

Has Harry ever used “Sussex” as a signature?

That would be the standard signature for a duke, and no doubt is the one he will use now.

I don’t know whether royal dukes have a different convention as regards signatures from your common-or-garden duke.

UDS, why assume he wouldn’t just keep signing his name ‘Harry’? If a signature doesn’t even have to be legible (as many aren’t) then why does it have to have the last name? For reference, my signature, which used to be quite legible, has degraded to the first two letters of my first name and the first three of my last.

Checking Wikipedia, I see his is already quite a mess, so who knows what the last squiggle is meant to stand in for? Could be “arry,” could be Sussex, could be Wales, could be “the bloody Queen of England” for all I can tell.

What’s the point of his having/retaining/using his ducal title, and then not doing ducal title things? Peers traditionally sign with their peerage title, and they and their immediate family use their peerage title where us mere plebs use surnames.

Besides, “Harry”, without a surname, is how he would sign as a prince of the UK, and of course he’s not supposed to be assuming the airs and graces of a member of the royal family any more, so Gran might be a bit miffed if he kept signing himself like a prince signs.

So Harry’s signature may well be illegible, but it’s likely to be an illegible rendition of “Sussex”.

He can style himself as and put “Duke of Sussex” on the letterhead, sure. Doesn’t mean the actual signature has to change.

The convention is that it would, though. And since not following the convention could be seen as an act of bad faith, given what he has agreed with the Queen about his styles and titles, we have some reason to expect that he will follow the convention, and none at all to expect that he won’t.

Presumably in an informal context where you or I might sign with our forenames only - e.g. a card to a friend - he will do the same. But in a formal context where you or I would add a surname, he will not sign with his forename only. He may sign just “Sussex”, or “Harry, Duke of Sussex” or some variant on that. FWIW, his great-great uncle, after his abdication, signed as “Edward, Duke of Windsor”

“Signature” was a poor word choice on my part.

I meant how he has used his name in general.

He has used Wales and Windsor in the past.

Has he ever referred to himself as Harry Sussex?

I expect for formal signatures he signs himself as “Harold” and whatever else after that.