Queen Elizabeth II was the only monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne


  • Queen Elizabeth thought the risk was "too great" to let William serve their country in active combat
  • A former head of the British Army revealed his discussions with the late Queen about the princes' involvement in the war
  • The documentary "The Real Crown" is scheduled to premiere on April 20

Queen Elizabeth II did not let Prince William go to war alongside his younger brother Prince Harry and British forces because she considered it "too great" of a risk to send the future heir to the throne to Afghanistan, a former head of the British Army claimed.

In the new ITVX documentary series "The Real Crown," retired British Army officer Gen. Mike Jackson revealed his discussions with the late monarch about the Prince of Wales and Prince Harry serving their country in active combat, according to U.K.'s The Telegraph.

Jackson had regular meetings with Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away at age 96 in September 2022, to discuss matters concerning Britain's armed forces, which were involved in the conflicts of Iraq and Afghanistan when Jackson was serving as chief of the General Staff, the highest post in the British Army, from 2003 to 2006.

Though Queen Elizabeth II made it clear that she wanted both of her grandsons to serve their country by fighting alongside British forces, she ultimately decided against letting Prince William take part in the conflict due to his role as heir.

"She was very clear. She said, 'My grandsons have taken my shilling, therefore they must do their duty.' And that was that," Jackson claimed.

"But it was decided that [since] William [is] heir to the heir, the risk is too great. But for his younger brother, the risk was acceptable," he claimed.

Jackson also admitted that he violated royal protocol by publicly discussing the alleged contents of his meeting with the late Queen.

"What goes on in those audiences and who says what to whom remains for the two people involved, and I will break the rule about not divulging what goes on on this one occasion," the retired army officer said in the documentary.

International Business Times could not independently verify his claims.

Prince William, now 40, completed a 44-week training course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned as an army officer in December 2006, per Telegraph. Two years later, he graduated from Royal Air Force College Cranwell and later served as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot without entering a combat zone.

British Forces Foundation director Mark Canan claimed that Prince William had been eager to fight in the war in Afghanistan, which ultimately ended in August 2021.

"William was very keen to go. Unequivocally. But it was complex, and some very great minds and experienced people took a view on it," Canan said in the documentary.

Meanwhile, Prince Harry, now 38, served in the British Army for 10 years, rising to the rank of captain and undertaking two tours of Afghanistan in 2007-2008 and 2012- 2013.

He was first deployed as a forward air controller in Helmand Province, before joining Camp Bastion and qualifying as a co-pilot gunner. There, Prince Harry, known as Captain Wales, also served as a helicopter pilot for the 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps.

In his best-selling memoir "Spare," released earlier this year, Prince Harry revealed that he went on six missions during his second tour in Afghanistan in 2012 and killed about 25 Taliban fighters.

"The Real Crown" is slated to hit the British television network ITVX on April 20. It will reportedly follow the triumphs and tragedies of Queen Elizabeth II's 70-year reign as a monarch.

"It looks at the Queen's in-tray, the decisions she made, and how she steered the monarchy as each decade presented different problems," series executive producer David Glover told What to Watch. "It's amazing to see her learning and adapting over seven decades, to keep the monarchy on the road."

Prince William and his younger brother Prince Harry were once close but their relationship has soured