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Prince Harry denies he ‘boasted’ about killing 25 Taliban fighters in explosive memoir Spare – and blames critics for ‘spinning’ his words and putting his ‘family in danger’ in trailer for late night interview with Stephen Colbert

  • Harry, 38, is set to appear on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert tonight, having pre-taped his interview in New York City on Monday evening 
  • A teaser clip released by the CBS show saw him railing against people who he says have put a ‘dangerous spin’ on excerpts from his memoir Spare 
  • Harry revealed in the explosive book that he killed 25 Taliban in Afghanistan 
  • His revelation drew furious criticism from military veterans and politicians, who warned that Harry has ‘undermined his own security’
  • Former British Army commander Colonel Richard Kemp accused the Duke of trying to ‘distort’ the truth with his descriptions of the Taliban  

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Prince Harry has furiously slammed down accusations that he ‘boasted’ about killing 25 Taliban fighters in his explosive memoir Spare – while accusing his critics of ‘spinning’ his words and spouting ‘lies’ about the revelation, which he says have put his family ‘in danger’. 

The 38-year-old vehemently defended his decision to share the information as he sat down for an interview with The Late Show host Stephen Colbert – a pre-taped chat that was recorded on Monday night and is due to be aired in full this evening. 

In a teaser clip for what will no doubt be another bombshell TV tell-all, Harry hit back at accusations that he ‘undermined his own security’ by writing about his Taliban kills, while blaming his critics for spreading ‘dangerous lies’ and ‘spinning his words’. 

‘I think one of… the most dangerous lies that they have told is that I somehow boasted about the number of people I have killed in Afghanistan,’ he told Colbert. 

‘I would say that if I heard anybody else, anyone, boasting about that kind of thing, I would be angry. But it’s a lie.

He added: ‘My words are not dangerous, but the spin of my words are very dangerous to my family.’

Prince Harry has furiously slammed down accusations that he 'boasted' about killing 25 Taliban fighters in his explosive memoir Spare during an interview with Stephen Colbert

Prince Harry has furiously slammed down accusations that he ‘boasted’ about killing 25 Taliban fighters in his explosive memoir Spare during an interview with Stephen Colbert

Harry, 38, faced serious criticism from politicians and former military members after leaked excerpts from his book revealed his recollections of killing Taliban members while he was serving as an Apache helicopter pilot

Harry, 38, faced serious criticism from politicians and former military members after leaked excerpts from his book revealed his recollections of killing Taliban members while he was serving as an Apache helicopter pilot

The Duke of Sussex faced serious criticism from politicians and senior former military members alike after leaked excerpts from his book – which were published after the book was accidentally released early in Spain – revealed his recollections of killing Taliban members while he was serving as an Apache helicopter pilot. 

After the excerpts were published last week, former British Army commander Colonel Richard Kemp described Harry’s comments as ‘ill-judged’ warned that his admissions could cause pro-Taliban sympathizers to be ‘provoked to attempt revenge’ against him and possibly ‘incite some people to attempt an attack on British soldiers anywhere in the world’.

Meanwhile, former Royal Marine commando Ben McBean suggested the Duke had broken an ‘unwritten rule’ with his revelation. 

However, Harry insisted to Colbert that it was not his words that were in any way dangerous – but rather the ‘spin’ that his critics have put on them, with the Duke saying it is ‘a choice they have made’, which has put his family in danger. 

He went on to insist that that the ‘reason’ he chose to write about his kill count was to ‘reduce the number of suicides’ among military veterans. 

‘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 give space to others to share their experiences without any shame,’ he said – while receiving applause from the audience, which included several veterans. 

‘And my whole goal, my attempt with sharing that detail is to reduce the number of suicides.’ 

The Duke has continued to speak out about his time in the military – and his decision to write so publicly about his experiences – during a series of interviews in which he has been plugging his memoir, which was officially published today. 

This morning, just over 12 hours before his sit-down with Colbert is set to air, People magazine published an interview with Harry in which he justified his decision to share his kill count, saying it was part of his own personal ‘healing’. 

'I think one of... the most dangerous lies that they have told is that I somehow boasted about the number of people I have killed in Afghanistan ,' he told Colbert

‘I think one of… the most dangerous lies that they have told is that I somehow boasted about the number of people I have killed in Afghanistan ,’ he told Colbert

The Duke enjoyed a glass of tequila alongside Colbert as the pair recorded their chat

The Duke enjoyed a glass of tequila alongside Colbert as the pair recorded their chat 

He added to the publication that he believes it is important for veterans and active service members to ‘talk about the parts of our service that haunt us – the lives lost, the lives taken’. 

However, Colonel Kemp, who commanded Operation Fingal in Afghanistan in 2003, told MailOnline that he didn’t think revealing the number would help any ‘healing journey’ and that it given the Taliban more fuel for propaganda.

‘I don’t really see how making that sort of public statement is going to help whatever healing process he thinks he needs.

‘I don’t think that saying that he has killed 25 people is a terrible thing to say. I am sure it’s factual and everybody knows that he was out there as an attack helicopter crewman and therefore that his job would have been to kill the enemy.

‘The biggest problem I have with what he said is the way he said he was trained to describe the Taliban and to think of the Taliban as less than human.’ 

The father-of-two, who during his second tour flew an Apache attack helicopter, said it was ‘not a fact that filled me with satisfaction but I was not ashamed either’. 

Harry took part in two tours in Afghanistan, the first from 2007 to 2008 and the second from 2012 to 2013. 

In Spare, the Prince said that he flew on six missions that resulted in the ‘taking of human lives’.

While many soldiers do not know how many enemies they have killed in combat, the duke wrote that ‘in the era of Apaches and laptops’ he was able to say ‘with exactness’ the number of insurgents he killed. 

As well as facing backlash from military members, Harry has also been accused of revealing his Taliban kill-count as a means of getting extra security at the expense of the British taxpayer. 

The Duke of Sussex is currently locked in an ongoing legal battle with the Home Office over his security detail in the UK – and critics suggested that Harry may have thought it would benefit his case to detail his exploits during two tours in Afghanistan.

Dr Alan Mendoza, from the Henry Jackson Society think tank, told The Sun the comments seem ‘calculated’.

‘Prince Harry’s claims about the number of Taliban he may have killed – whether true or not – seem calculated to achieve just one objective: to secure extra security for himself at the UK taxpayer’s expense.

‘All he has succeeded in doing is to allow a despicable regime a free PR hit in response to his poorly framed comments.’

Harry took part in two tours in Afghanistan, the first from 2007 to 2008 and the second from 2012 to 2013

Harry took part in two tours in Afghanistan, the first from 2007 to 2008 and the second from 2012 to 2013

The Duke happily posed for a backstage selfie with Colbert, which the late night host shared on his Twitter account ahead of the interview's broadcast

The Duke happily posed for a backstage selfie with Colbert, which the late night host shared on his Twitter account ahead of the interview’s broadcast 

Harry is at the end of his transatlantic TV blitz promoting his new memoirs Spare, which was finally released today after an embarrassing blunder saw it being released on shelves in Spain almost a week before its intended publication date, despite publisher Penguin Random House going to great lengths to keep it under lock and key. 

The Duke addressed the leaks in his interview with Colbert, telling the late-night host that the ‘past few days have been challenging and hurtful’, while voicing frustration over the early leaks of his tell-all memoir. 

‘Look I’m not going to lie, the last few days have been challenging and hurtful, not being able to do anything about those leaks that you referred to,’ he said.

An earlier trailer for Harry’s sit-down with Colbert saw the acerbic late night host offering a taste of what is to come in the interview – with the on-air personality focusing his silver-tongued wit on the royal family, and the Duke himself. 

After playing a clip where Harry describes his pain at William trying to avoid him at Eton, The Late Show presenter said to roars of laughter: ‘That’s heartbreaking. To be rejected by his older brother at school even though that magic hat sorted them into the same house. What do you think? Hufflepuff? Gryffindor?’ 

In another teaser Colbert said Spare is available in hardback, audiobook and ‘commemorative plate’ – a joke at the expense of Harry and other royals whose weddings and anniversaries are marked with limited edition tableware. 

And then in a further joke at Harry’s expense – and the expense of the Royal Family including the Queen – Colbert says: ‘Stock up on corgis and steal a priceless cultural treasure from one of your colonies because The Late Show is going imperial’. 

After a series of serious TV interviews – which some critics claim failed to properly question contradictions in his book – the Prince has chosen to do The Late Show, and looks set to be made a figure of fun. 

Harry’s PR blitz has seen him sling further barbs at the royal family – a move that has seen him faced with a slew of criticism, even from the liberal media. 

The Left-wing, anti-British New York Times, called his remarks ‘repetitive and tiresome’ and suggested the ‘tide seems to be turning’ in US attitudes towards the Sussexes. 

Source: Daily Mail UK

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