The Times: Prince Harry & William fought about Africa for years, you guys

Last week, the British media began a curious campaign related to Prince Harry’s position on the board of African Parks. Harry was president of African Parks for six years, then last October, he was elevated to a position on the board. African Parks was one of the few royal-adjacent “things” that the Windsors could not take away from Harry – African Parks operates independently, and they choose their own board members and presidents (rather than allowing a British monarch to appoint them). Harry’s conservation work in Africa has always bothered Prince William because, you see, William thinks Africa is “his.” William thinks conservation work is “his.” So the rollout of this story over the past week has been interesting.

The short version is that African Parks guards were accused of rape in the Republic of Congo. The accusations came via another NGO, Survival International. African Parks quickly released a statement, saying that of course they were aware of the accusations and they are investigating, but Survival International has not cooperated or given them any additional information. Which makes it very curious that Survival International would seemingly contact the Mail instead of African Parks’ third-party investigative team? While accusations of rape should be taken seriously, the British media has used this moment to not only demand Harry’s resignation from African Parks’ board, but to launch a completely unhinged narrative about how THIS is why Harry and William actually fell apart, long before Harry met Meghan. Some highlights from this Times of London story, which (sadly) was probably the whole point.

William & Harry’s feud about Africa: The brothers’ feud, a palace source says, is one that pre-dates Prince Harry’s relationship with Meghan and, perhaps surprisingly, involves the princes’ differing views of conservation work. Sharing a charitable foundation, William and Harry are said to have regularly disagreed on the best way to reduce poaching and save endangered species in Africa. “They are both very passionate about saving protected species but didn’t always share the same view about how to run projects in Africa,” a well-placed source who knows both brothers said. “William believes you should focus on community-led schemes where local people over time feel empowered to protect the land. Harry, on the other hand, was more interventionist. He felt that you need a more hands-on approach to ensure wildlife habitats were securely protected to enact change quickly.”

The complicated situation in Africa! The situation on the ground in Africa is far more complicated and sweeping than a group of rogue guards. The volatile conditions in which the charity operates on a donated budget of $100 million a year has led to a blurring of lines between conflict and conservation. Its 1,400-strong ranger force is often better paid and equipped than the local armies. In Benin, its anti-poaching units have been likened to a counterterrorism force in their defence of endangered species from Islamist militants.

Harry, a veteran of war, cannot navigate through a crisis: Harry still accepted a promotion from a purely figurehead position to one that will be far more demanding. Now a former member of African Parks’ management team, who asked not to be named, has questioned the Duke of Sussex’s suitability for a governance role guiding the charity’s management through complex and dangerous contexts. “Harry has neither the tools nor experience to navigate his way through such crises,” they told The Times, backing demands for him to step down. The late Dutch billionaire Paul van Vlissingen was among the organisation’s founders in 2000, seeing in it “an African solution for Africa’s conservation challenges”. But elevating Harry to a position of influence has just reinforced criticism of the charity as “green colonialism”. Half of the current board of eight are white and only one is a woman.

Harry’s just a celebrity! The former African Parks executive said: “By stacking boards with white males and failing to embrace the perspectives of black Africans and women, leadership is bound to be stilted. Yes, there is a role for celebrities as patrons or ambassadors, but not on a governing board.”

Harry reportedly wants to make a Netflix documentary about African Parks: With vast funds at their disposal, the African Parks expansion shows no sign of slowing. The deep pockets of its billionaire backers providing the annual $100 million budget have emboldened African Parks to set an ambition to manage 30 parks by 2030. It recently bought 2,000 southern white rhino from a private owner in South Africa who estimated it was costing him $425,000 a month to feed and protect them from poachers. The plan to rewild the animals across Africa over the next decade is one of the most ambitious conservation plans and no doubt why Netflix might see it worthy of a documentary.

Harry’s benefits!! Harry is not being paid for his role on the governing body of African Parks, though benefits include influencing the management of 49.4 million acres of protected areas, almost the size of England, Scotland and Wales combined. Harry will also get to network with some of the world’s richest philanthropists who bankroll the charity’s work. These include the American Walton family who founded Walmart, the Oppenheimers whose fortune was amassed from diamond mining in South Africa, and the Swiss tycoon Hansjörg Wyss, 88, a shareholder in Chelsea football club. With so many high-profile reputations at stake, African Parks will surely be keen to ensure it never courts such negative publicity again.

William will always refuse to help Harry!! Closer to home, there is one war which continues to rage: that of the Windsor brothers. No public messages have been forthcoming from the Sussexes to wish the King or the Princess of Wales well after their stays in hospital. One thing seems certain. With his wife’s recovery to prioritise, William won’t be stepping into a crisis management role to help his brother with the African Parks debacle any time soon.

William just couldn’t help leaving his signature all over this truly deranged story. William’s wife was in the hospital for two weeks and William has been absent from public view for much of the past month, and after all that, we know he was just sitting there, stewing in his own incandescent rage about HARRY. Harry on the board of African Parks. Harry, part of a prestigious NGO with a nine-figure budget. Harry, who refuses to ask William for help! Trust the Times of London to side with jihadists too, did you notice that? How dare African Parks have the money and manpower to take it to armed jihadists who subsidize their terrorism through illegal poaching?!?! Won’t someone think of William’s feelings?

Meanwhile, I’m surprised that the Times didn’t mention William’s repeated statements about “African overpopulation” being the biggest threat to wildlife and conservation. Father-of-three William has made it clear, for years, that he thinks Africans are having too many children and that’s the biggest threat to his three children being able to ride elephants for fun. I wonder if William and Harry ever fought about that?

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