British media are recalling that Prince Andrew, the Queen's second son sailed to war in the Falkland Islands, back in 1982, making the sovereign and elected government officials of the time extremely fearful that he could become a target prize for the Argentine forces.
A boost for Argentine morale, and exactly the contrary for the British Task Force some 8.000 miles away in the South Atlantic.
In effect, Prince Andrew who started his Royal Navy career in 1979, was a sub lieutenant when the conflict broke out and sailed to the war zone aboard the HMS Invincible.
The royal biographer Andrew Morton, in his 1984 book “Andrew: The Playboy Prince”, writes how the prince was determined to go to war, although then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had her “doubts”.
However, Mr. Morton writes: “Unknown to the Queen and Mrs. Thatcher, their worst fears about sending Prince Andrew to war had become a stark reality.”
He recounts how the prince, serving aboard HMS Invincible, became a target for the Argentine forces.
Naval Chief Admiral Jorge Anaya elaborated a plan to concentrate “the entire Argentine Air Force on Prince Andrew’s ship”, in order to sink it and destroy British morale. The head of the military Junta and as such president of Argentine would publicly repeat, let the little Prince come along, we'll be waiting for him!!
At the time, Andrew was second-in-line to the throne behind his elder brother Prince Charles.
However, although Argentine forces launched an attack on the ship on May 30, no damage was actually caused to HMS Invincible and it sailed back into Portsmouth harbor with the rest of the British Task Force when the conflict ended in June.
Mr. Morton also explains how, when the war began, Andrew convinced Mrs. Thatcher that he would sail to into combat with he rest of his crew.
In a meeting with the Queen, Prince Philip and Mrs. Thatcher, he was “adamant” that he would go to war, and reportedly even threatened to resign his commission if he was not allowed to sail with HMS Invincible.
Mr. Morton writes: “Mrs. Thatcher was only too well aware of the extra risks the Queen’s son would face. “He would be a prime target for attack, the one man every Argentine soldier, sailor or airman would be gunning for.”
However, he continues: “Mrs. Thatcher left Windsor in no doubt. “Andrew would sail with the Task Force, whatever her own personal doubts.”
He writes that Prince Philip, who has a storied military career of his own, supported his son’s stance.
Decades later, Andrew’s nephews Prince William and Prince Harry would follow in his footsteps with military careers of their own.
Actually Prince William served as a Navy helicopter pilot, later working for Air Ambulance search and rescue, with time also spent in the Falkland Islands, and Prince Harry was a helicopter co-pilot during his ten-year Army career which included tours of Afghanistan.