The Duke of York served in the Royal Navy as a helicopter pilot and warship captain during the Falklands War in 1982.

Sarah Ferguson on standing by Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew found himself right in the thick of military conflict during the Falklands War as Argentina deliberately targeted the battleship he was serving on, it has been revealed in a new documentary. The ITVX documentary The Real Crown: Inside the House of Windsor explores the inner life of the Firm during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, who in the third episode Intruders makes the decision to send Andrew to war in spite of the risks.

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The documentary’s narrator Adjoa Andoh describes how during a fierce battle an Argentinian missile is fired at HMS Invincible, the ship that Andrew was serving on.

Alongside air crewman Tom Arnull, the prince is then instructed to use their helicopter to attempt to divert the missile by hovering over the sea, which creates a down draught to cause a disturbance and confuse the enemy radar.

The missile did hit another ship but not the one Andrew had been assigned to.

The prince and Mr Arnull were also present when the HMS Sheffield was hit, causing 20 deaths and 26 injuries, with Mr Arnull describing the scene as “bedlam”.


Prince Andrew was sent to the Falklands front line despite his royal status (Image: Getty)

Prince Andrew with a rose between his teeth

Andrew returned from the Falklands a war hero (Image: ITV)

He told the programme: “This was the first warship that had been hit since the Second World War, we were literally amongst the shellfire exploding around us.

“It was real. There were British sailors dying and you could see them dying.

“Prince Andrew under duress was the same as anybody else – surprise, shock, anger, all of us going through the same thing trying to keep a lid on it.”

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Queen Elizabeth In Fiji

The Queen felt it would be better for Andrew to go to the Falklands and not be treated differently (Image: Getty)

Royal Ascot 2017 - Day 3 - Ladies Day

The Queen and Prince Andrew were known to have a close relationship (Image: Getty)

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Andrew later admitted that his mother had been “concerned” about him as any other parent would be, “particularly if the telephone rang at odd times of the day or night.

“There was always that nervousness of, ‘uh oh what’s happened, has anything happened’?”

The prince was able to call with the Queen with some happier news after the Argentinian surrender, as he told journalists at the time that she had told him to share her pride with the rest of the troops.

Prince Andrew returned to the UK as a war hero, and his reputation as one of the most popular royals at the time saw a revival of his old school nickname ‘randy Andy’.

Prince Andrew

In the 1980s Andrew was one of the most popular royals (Image: Getty)


    In a TV interview broadcast during the 1980s, Andrew attempts to flirt with the journalist who asks him how he came to be known by such a title.

    He explained: “I’ll tell you exactly where that originated from, my second day at public school.

    “I was unfortunate enough in my early days at Gordonstoun not to realise the rules of the house, which were that you weren’t allowed in the girl’s house.

    “I was unfortunately caught going through a door in the girl’s house saying hello to somebody and it stuck. Not many people use it nowadays, I don’t think that it actually fits today anyway.”

    All episodes of The Real Crown: Inside the House of Windsor are available to stream on itvX here.