T° dispatch the Duke of Kent to Northern Ireland is about as diplomatic and constructive as bringing Cardinal Ottaviani over here to preserve the peace between the Catholic Renewal Movement and the Pro Fide group.
According to Monday's Daily Mail, senior officers (unnamed) revealed that the Duke himself would have resigned from the Army if he had been stopped from going to Northern Ireland. He felt, said these officers, that he would lose his men's respect if not treated as an ordinary soldier.
One can admire the Duke of Kent's feelings but one must also point out that even in a democratic society the cousin of the Queen can never be treated as an ordinary soldier. It should also be obvious, even to the Army, that the monarchy is itself a cause of hostility in Northern Ireland. Factions there would delight in capturing the Duke as a hostage or even killing him and the men he commands. There is also the everpresent prospect that he could be involved in the killing of his own "kith and kin"or those viho are neither— nor want to be—kith or kinnish. Either way the result would be disastrous.
If you are a serving major and a member of the royal family, the crown on the shoulder does not merely indicate military rank. It is one thing to nearly kill yourself on a bobsleigh: it is quite another to be placed in the position of being abducted, killed or killing in what is virtually a civil war. I feel that the Duke's men would understand all this and would also feel a bit safer if their commander was not of the blood royal.