Prince Harry Slams Claims He Boasted About How Many People He Killed in Afghanistan
In a wide-ranging interview on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," Prince Harry discussed everything from the British media's obsession with Meghan Markle to watching "The Crown" (not only does he watch the show, he can't help but fact-check it too). However, he was most passionate about dispelling claims that he boasts in his new book "Spare" about how many people he killed during his time serving in the British military amid the war in Afghanistan.
Right at the start of the interview, Harry revealed that seeing passages from his book taken out of context prior to its release has been "hurtful and challenging." He told Colbert, "But without doubt, the most dangerous lie that they [the media] have told is that I somehow boasted about the number of people that I killed in Afghanistan."
Colbert agreed with the Duke of Sussex, adding that, from his point of view, the passage wasn't boastful, but rather a "thoughtful" description of what it's like for a veteran to carry that knowledge with them.
In the book, Harry writes that he killed 25 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, then goes on to discuss what knowing that information has meant to him. The prince told Colbert he decided to be candid about his time in Afghanistan because he was hopeful it would help other veterans feel less alone.
"I think the most important thing here is the reason why I decided to share this in my book. Because again, to the vets here and to the civilians here, which may feel this is a slightly weird conversation to have, especially on this show of all shows, but I made a choice to share it because having spent nearly two decades working with veterans all around the world, I think the most important thing is to be honest and to be able to give space to others to share their experiences without any shame," he explained. "And my whole goal and my attempt with sharing that detail is to reduce the number of suicides."
Harry noted that as far as he is concerned sharing the number wasn't dangerous, as some members of the British press claimed, but having his words taken out of context was troubling. "It's really troubling and very disturbing that they can get away with it, because they had the context," he continued. "It wasn't like here's just one line, they had the whole section, they ripped it away and just said here it is, he's boasting on this . . . That's dangerous, and my words aren't dangerous, but the spin of my words are very dangerous."
The Duke of Sussex's interview wasn't all heavy. In addition to discussing his time in Afghanistan and troubles with the British media, he talked about watching "The Crown" and that time he got frostbite on his private parts, shared a drink with Colbert, and noted that the interview felt like being in "group therapy." But more than anything else, he wanted the audience and the world to know that being in the army was one of the most impactful experiences of his life.
"It is what has defined my life," he told Colbert of the experience. "I spent 10 years in the army. I only joined originally for three, but I couldn't resist staying . . . I found a refuge there, and as I talk about in the book, I found my purpose."