Prince Harry received strong criticism from a former Royal Navy chief for his candidacy for the esteemed Pat Tillman prize for Service. The prize will be presented to him at a glamorous awards ceremony in the United States later this month.

In June, it was revealed that the Duke of Sussex will be honored with the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the upcoming ESPY Awards in Los Angeles on July 11. The event will be hosted by Serena Williams, a renowned tennis player and close associate of Meghan Markle.

The awards, which are named in honor of Pat Tillman, a former NFL player and US Army Ranger who lost his life in Afghanistan in 2004, are presented by ESPN to persons in the sports industry who have made noteworthy contributions to the well-being of others.

However, the announcement provoked a strong negative reaction globally, leading to the creation of a petition calling for the awards organizers to reconsider their decision.

Tillman's mother, Mary, expressed her "shock" at Prince Harry's candidacy, stating that there are more deserving awardees.

Admiral Lord Alan West, former First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff from 2002 until 2006, strongly criticized the prince and issued him a concise warning consisting of only eight words over his candidacy.

Lord West cautioned Prince Harry to carefully consider accepting specific accolades, since it may not be well-received among military personnel. Furthermore, he strongly advised him to decline the Pat Tillman prize.

"He ought to think very hard and long about accepting awards for things like being an exceptional pilot and being exceptionally brave. Some of the blame must lie with ESPN. They like picking him because it gives them immense publicity. But this is rather bad publicity for Harry,” the Labour peer told the Daily Mail.

Lord West advised Prince Harry to "to sit back and not accept awards like this."

“It doesn't travel well with people in the military. And when the mother of the man who died doesn't want him to get this award, he should think about that. My advice to him is to sit back and not accept any awards at the moment. They are going his way because has such a high profile and people want to take advantage of that,” he stated.

Prince Harry is being acknowledged for establishing the Invictus Games 10 years ago to provide assistance for active duty and veteran servicemen and women who are dealing with both physical and invisible disabilities.

As per Express UK, Prince Harry is being recognized for his unwavering efforts to create a beneficial influence on the veteran community by utilizing the influence of sports.

The Invictus Games have surpassed national boundaries and profoundly influenced individuals on every continent. According to insiders, The Telegraph said that the Duke was "shocked" by the negative response.

“Harry's legacy on Invictus, the things he has achieved, that's his real passion. This is the space in which he truly feels at home, it is something he deeply cares about. The reaction certainly took the shine off the award,” the spies claimed.

Business Times has reached out to Prince Harry for comments.