When Prince Harry last made headlines while staying in Canada, it was because of his partying at local bars during training with his armoured regiment in Alberta.
Now, one of the British army's first openly gay soldiers has made public another side of the prince's Canadian sojourn, saying that Harry helped thwart a potential gay bashing by his fellow soldiers while they were at CFB Suffield.
The revelation is made in Lance Corporal James Wharton's memoir, Out In The Army: My Life As A Gay Soldier.
LCpl. Wharton says he had infuriated six infantry sergeants after boasting about his sexual prowess. He was expecting to be beaten up but Prince Harry defused the situation and warned the soldiers to leave the gay trooper alone.
Excerpts of the book were published in the UK Sunday.
LCpl. Wharton wrote that his unit, the elite Blues and Royals regiment of the British army's Household Calvary, were on a four-month training exercise in Canada in 2008.
They were at CFB Suffield, near Medicine Hat, where the British military has a permanent facility to conduct live-fire exercises. He was assigned to be a gunner in the armoured vehicle of a "Lieutenant Wales," who turned out to the third in line to the British throne.
He described Harry as a laid-back officer with whom he was comfortable revealing his sexual orientation and confiding about breaking up with his boyfriend.
"Everybody on the base was aware of Prince Harry’s presence and people began to point at me mouthing ‘Prince Harry’ and ‘gay gunner’," he wrote.
One morning, LCpl. Wharton wrote, "some of the boys were in competition as to who had got ‘laid’ the most while in Canada."
He got loose-lipped about a sexual encounter he had the previous night with a fellow soldier.
Confronted by six "extremely angry" non-commissioned officers, he said he sought Prince Harry's help, telling him, "Sir, I need to talk to you ... I think I’m about to be murdered by the infantry."
The prince climbed out of the vehicle turret then came back 10 minutes later, saying "I knew one of [the] officers and we cleared everything up. I also told those other lads to back the [expletive] off, too."
A grateful LCpl. Wharton said "I had been on track for a battering and had been rescued."
He added that the prince on another occasion told him that he was told he and his older brother, William, were gay icons.
"Honestly, I'm sure you're not," LCpl. Wharton replied.
"Is it because I'm [expletive] ginger?" the prince asked.
LCpl. Wharton said he and another trooper bonded with the prince by sharing stories about how they each lost their virginity.
Prince Harry's military stint in Canada first became public during a previous training tour in 2007, before his first deployment to Afghanistan. While officials would not confirm his presence, photos emerged of him partying with comely waitresses at local bars near CFB Suffield.