‘I am Invictus’
Masculinities, ‘philanthrocapitalism’ and the military-industrial complex
in Running the Family Firm
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This chapter analyses representations of Prince Harry to consider the Firm’s relation to global military capital and ‘philanthrocapitalism’ (Littler, 2015). After returning from his second tour of duty with the Armed Forces in Afghanistan, in March 2014 Prince Harry launched the Invictus Games: an annual, international, multi-sport event featuring wounded armed services veterans. Invictus encourages veterans to ‘rise above’ injury, in an individualistic framing which configures the rehabilitation process as a solo sporting pursuit of ‘mind over body’. This self-determining ethos reflects not only the abdication of state responsibility for injured soldiers but also the neoliberalisation and financialisation of warfare in recent ‘corporate wars’ in the Middle East.

The chapter demonstrates how Invictus, largely anchored to representations of Harry’s philanthropic, affable and liberal persona (modelled on his mother, Princess Diana) condenses and disguises contradictions around recent global conflicts, ambiguities in ideas around state responsibility and accountability, the role of corporate capital in these wars, and ideologies of ‘royal work’. I argue that as a royal figure symbolic of national identity, representations of Harry hold the possibility of reorienting the corporate war through discourses of national identity, and redeeming the ‘good soldier’ from a ‘bad war’ in producing consent for the ‘War on Terror’. Furthermore, the redemptive transformation of Harry, from ‘playboy prince’ to ‘philanthropic prince’ via ‘soldier prince’, maps on to the development of the military-industrial complex, shifting contemporary masculinities, and the role of royal philanthropy and ideologies of royal ‘work’ in representing monarchy as socially responsible and productive.

Running the Family Firm

How the monarchy manages its image and our money

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