A former comrade of Prince Harry’s in Afghanistan is to be kicked out of the Army for failing a drugs test, the Daily Mail can reveal.
Corporal Frankie O’Leary, the royal’s former radio operator who also carried out ceremonial duties at his wedding, tested positive for cocaine, defence sources said.
The 32-year-old, of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment based at Hyde Park Barracks in London, was among four soldiers to fail drugs tests in the past few days.
They are all in the process of being kicked out and the incidents were not linked, the sources said.
Corporal Frankie O’Leary (left), who worked as a radio operator for Prince Harry (centre) in Afghanistan in 2007, will be kicked out of the Army after failing a drug test
It is understood that Cpl O’Leary was not in the barracks at the time he took the class-A drug.
A friend of Cpl O’Leary told the Mail: ‘He knows he has made a huge mistake and it has cost him the job he loved.
‘He just feels he has let down his family, friends and the regiment.’
An Army source said: ‘This has cost him his whole career, it’s a pretty harsh penalty. There aren’t many jobs where you would get sacked for recreational drugs use.’
Corporal of Horse O’Leary got to know Prince Harry as his radio operator in Afghanistan in 2007.
Corporal O’Leary served in Helmand province Afghanistan in the same regiment as Prince Harry
O’Leary (right with Daniel Snoxell at the preparations for the Royal Wedding) was among four soldiers to fail drugs tests in the past few days. They are all in the process of being kicked out and the incidents were not linked, the sources said
He also took part in the Household Cavalry escort for the carriage procession at Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle last year. He rode at the front of the carriage carrying the newlyweds around Windsor.
Speaking at the time, he recalled how they were stationed in Windsor together when Prince Harry played cupid by going out of his way to help him get together with his now wife.
He said in an interview last year: ‘He rather kindly helped me get in well with a young lady. He has seen me walking with the young lady, unbeknownst to me he was driving on his own, no security detail, just going for a spin like you do as an English prince.
Cpl O’Leary was one of 24 soldiers and two officers who made up the cavalry escort at the Royal’s wedding to Meghan Markle last year. It is understood that they have not spoken since and were not close friends
O’Leary (left) described the Prince (right) as ‘a man of courage, a man of honour, a genuinely honest, kind man’, and joked that he had ‘pulled a cracker’ in the then Miss Markle
‘He wound the window down and said, “See you later, Frank”. I was like, “See you later, sir”.
‘I carried on walking. The young lady was a few steps behind me, with her jaw on the floor. “Was that…?” I just played it off as cool. “Of course it was. Does that not happen to you?” ’
Asked what happened to the young woman, a Swede called Niina, he said: ‘She became my wife.’
He described the prince as ‘a man of courage, a man of honour, a genuinely honest, kind man’, and joked that he had ‘pulled a cracker’ in the then Miss Markle.
And he also joked about Harry’s falling standards too. ‘He’s got a very untidy beard,’ said Cpl O’ Leary, who served with the Prince in Afghanistan in 2007.
‘The Regimental Corporal Major would have him for that!’
Cpl O’Leary was one of 24 soldiers and two officers who made up the escort. It is understood that they have not spoken since and were not close friends.
O’Leary (far right) at Hyde Park Barracks ahead of Prince Harry’s wedding last year
A friend of Cpl O’Leary told the Mail: ‘He knows he has made a huge mistake and it has cost him the job he loved. ‘He just feels he has let down his family, friends and the regiment’ (Prince Harry pictured fifth right in Afghanistan, 2008)
A source said: ‘The soldier has had no contact with the prince for a considerable period of time.’
Harry joined The Blues and Royals in April 2006 and served with the Household Cavalry Regiment, based in Combermere Barracks in Windsor, undertaking two tours of Afghanistan and rising to the rank of captain.
In November last year the then Defence Secretary announced that the Army would introduce a zero-tolerance drugs policy in an effort to ensure ‘high standards’ were maintained.
Gavin Williamson said the use of drugs was ‘incompatible’ with military service, as he announced there would be no more readmissions of former users.
Harry joined The Blues and Royals in April 2006 and served with the Household Cavalry Regiment, based in Combermere Barracks in Windsor (Prince Harry stepping off a plane after returning from Afghanistan in 2008)
Previous rules allowed soldiers sacked for taking illegal drugs to be readmitted if they passed a fresh test.
He added that a zero-tolerance approach was the ‘only way’ to ensure excellence was ‘maintained across our world-class military’.
The MoD last night confirmed four soldiers serving with the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment failed a compulsory drugs test.
An Army spokesman said: ‘The Army has a zero tolerance drugs policy and will not tolerate misuse of drugs in any form or at any time. Any personnel caught taking drugs will be discharged.’
The Household Cavalry’s role in Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle
Soldiers from Prince Harry’s former regiment, the Household Cavalry, have spoken of their pride at playing a pivotal role in his wedding to Meghan Markle.
Based at Hyde Park Barracks, Knightsbridge, London, the Cavalry’s ceremonial regiment had an important part in the wedding on May 19 in Windsor – both during and after the nuptials.
Famed for their plumed helmets and shining breastplates, 24 dismounted soldiers and two officers lined the staircase into St George’s Chapel at the castle ahead of the ceremony.
Following the service another 24 soldiers and two officers rode on horseback – escorting the bride and groom as part of the carriage procession through the town.
Commanding officer of the Household Cavalry Regiment Lieutenant Colonel James Gaselee commanded the travelling mounted escort at the side of the carriage.
Lance Corporal of Horse Frankie O’Leary was Prince Harry’s driver on operations in Afghanistan in 2007 and rode on horseback as part of the escort.
Describing Harry before the wedding, the 31-year-old from Windsor said he ‘loved a good joke’ and was quite comical, but that he was just a ‘British Army officer’.
‘Professional, done his job well, cared about his men a lot, succinct, to the point, a genuinely honest, kind man,’ he said.