Prince Harry was met with backlash after it was announced that he would be inducted at the 21st Annual Living Legends of Aviation Awards. The event, which will be hosted by John Travolta on January 19, is set to “honor those who have made significant contributions to aviation/aerospace.”
Among the other inductees are aviator Steve Hinton, CAE CEO Marc Parent and Navy pilot Fred George. “What exactly did Prince Harry do to contribute to aviation history?” one person asked on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday, January 11, after the announcement was made.
Harry, 39, is a veteran of the British Army and a pilot with 10 years of military service under his belt. The Spare author took part in training missions across the U.S. and the U.K. and saw combat in Afghanistan. Still, he faced an abundance of criticism after it was revealed that he would be receiving the accolade.
“Is this a joke? #PrinceHarry? Really?” another questioned. Another person echoed, “Well, aren’t we all confused?! A living joke? YES! But a living legend for AVIATION?? A legendary joke that is! #PrinceHarry.”
A third person chimed in, writing, “It is completely ridiculous that Prince Harry is even being considered.”
According to the official Living Legends website, the legends are the ones who “nominate and select the inductees and honorees” for the annual ceremony each year. The group of legends includes past honorees.
Ahead of the release of his memoir, Spare, Harry opened up about his military service and continuing to work with veterans.
“I don’t know that you ever fully reconcile the painful elements of being at war,” told People in January 2023. “This is something each soldier has to confront, and in the nearly two decades of working alongside service personnel and veterans, I’ve listened to their stories and have shared mine. In these conversations, we often talk about the parts of our service that haunt us — the lives lost, the lives taken. But also the parts of our service that heal us and the lives we’ve saved.”
He continued, “It’s a duty, a job, and a service to our country — and having done two tours of duty in Afghanistan for my country, I’ve done all I could to be the best soldier I was trained to be,” adding, “There’s truly no right or wrong way to try and navigate these feelings, but I know from my own healing journey that silence has been the least effective remedy. Expressing and detailing my experience is how I chose to deal with it, in the hopes it would help others.”