In his new book, Out In The Army: My Life as a Gay Soldier, Lance Corporal James Wharton who served under Prince Harry in the British armed forces recalls the time "Lieutenant Wales" saved him from being "murdered" by six other soldiers in an anti-gay attack.
Wharton, the first gay soldier to cover Britain's Armed Forces magazine, says the 2008 incident began after he had spent the night with another soldier while training in Canada.
The following day he says he "stupidly" revealed that he had "scored the night before," and that "everyone knew who I was talking about."
Later on, Wharton was informed that the soldier he had unintentionally outed was being harassed by other infantrymen, and went down to see what was going on.
It was then that he was confronted by "six extremely angry infantry sergeants" who proceeded to accuse him of "spreading rumors about our Martin."
This except from Out In The Army (via The Daily Mail) has the play-by-play of what happened next:
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 shit 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 fuck off, too.’
Remarkably, Wharton's story takes an even more amazing turn: While trying to bury the hatchet with the infantrymen who hassled him, he ended up being invited to spend the night with one of them.
Though he was asked by the soldier not to tell anyone about their "encounter," Wharton couldn't help by spill the beans to Prince Harry, who subsequently spent the rest of the day muttering the word "outrageous."
Here's Trooper Wharton's "It Gets Better" from 2009:
[H/T: Towleroad, photo of AP]