Royal children 'to face National Service under Sunak pledge' as new details emerge

26 May 2024, 22:04 | Updated: 26 May 2024, 22:10

Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte will be forced to undertake National Service under Rishi Sunak's bombshell election pledge, reports claim.
Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte will be forced to undertake National Service under Rishi Sunak's bombshell election pledge, reports claim. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte will be forced to undertake National Service under Rishi Sunak's bombshell election pledge, reports claim.

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Details of the controversial plan confirmed to the Daily Telegraph say that there will be "very limited exceptions" to get out of the scheme - and that young royals will not be exempt.

The new information comes after James Cleverly told LBC those that refuse would not receive "criminal sanctions" on Sunday.

The three children of the Prince and Princess of Wales will be expected to undertake either a 12-month military placement of 25 days volunteering when they turn 18.

Prince George, 10, will be the first to be made to undertake the scheme when he turns 18 in July 2031.

His sister Princess Charlotte, nine, will follow over a year later.

With Prince Louis, six, the last that would undertake the service under the plans.

The three children of the Prince and Princess of Wales will be expected to undertake either a 12-month military placement of 25 days volunteering when they turn 18.
The three children of the Prince and Princess of Wales will be expected to undertake either a 12-month military placement of 25 days volunteering when they turn 18. Picture: Alamy

The children of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie would also not be exempt - neither would Prince Edward's son, the Earl of Wessex, who is 16.

On Saturday, the Prime Minister announced the new election pledge and confirmed all 18-year-olds will be made to enrol in a year-long military placement or spend one weekend each month volunteering under the plan.

Mr Sunak has received backlash to the proposal but said he wanted the changes to instil a "shared sense of purpose” in youngsters.

Home Secretary James Cleverly has defended the idea to Lewis Goodall on LBC on Sunday and said he hopes the scheme will help fix social fragmentation.

Lewis Goodall quizzes Home Secretary over mandatory national service

Mr Cleverly said the service will be compulsory, adding: "We will look at what the appropriate response will be."

"There's not going to be a criminal sanction for this."

"The same way people are compelled to be in education or training between 16 and 18," he added.

Mr Cleverly clarified details of the scheme saying the military bit will be paid, but the non-military bit won't.

"The military bit will be a year long commitment, the non-military bit will be 25 days over a year.

'Within their bubble'

He also said many young people live "very much within their bubble".

"Lots of police officers, lots of people that work in public service also volunteer their time. The point we're making is a really important element of this is mixing with people outside your usual social circle."

Read more: Tobias Ellwood defends mandatory National Service policy pledge as world 'has 1930s feel' to it

James Cleverly says it's important young people mix outside their social circle
James Cleverly said it's important young people mix outside their social circle. Picture: Alamy

Mr Cleverly said the plans show the Party is investing in young people and trying to address some of the challenges that young people face.

"In other countries that we've looked at that do this, this is a very, very popular scheme, parents particularly very, very keen for their children to be involved in this kind of stuff."

Read more: RAF pilot dead in Spitfire airshow crash as politicians and royals pay tribute to unnamed airman

Does Rishi Sunak's national service plan 'smack of desperation'?

Mr Sunak told The Sunday Telegraph: “This is a great country but generations of young people have not had the opportunities or experience they deserve and there are forces trying to divide our society in this increasingly uncertain world

“I have a clear plan to address this and secure our future. I will bring in a new version of National Service to create a shared sense of purpose among our young people and a renewed sense of pride in our country.

“This new, mandatory National Service will provide life-changing opportunities for our young people, offering them the chance to learn real-world skills, do new things and contribute to their community and our country.”

A Labour Party spokesperson said the announcement was "another desperate £2.5 billion unfunded commitment from a Tory Party which already crashed the economy, sending mortgages rocketing, and now they’re spoiling for more.

“This is not a plan – it’s a review which could cost billions and is only needed because the Tories hollowed out the armed forces to their smallest size since Napoleon," the spokesperson said.

The Lib Dems have also slammed the announcement with leader Ed Davey describing it as a "desperate" and "pathetic" attempt.

Read more: Lib Dems aim to bring down 90 Tory 'Blue Wall' seats as party takes aim at Sunak on NHS and sewage

Read More: Labour and Tories clash on energy measures and how often leaders should debate

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