Minister refuses to rule out future king George and other royal princes and princesses being called up for National Service when they turn 18 amid row over Rishi Sunak's election pledge to make teens spend a year in the military or do unpaid weekend work

Young royals including the future king George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis would be expected to do National Service alongside regular teenagers when they turn 18, a senior minister suggested today.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan said 'the vast majority of our young people' would be expected to turn out for the mandatory programme under Rishi Sunak's new election proposal.

It would see all 18-year-olds do either a paid year in the military or spend a weekend a month doing unpaid work in the community.

The manifesto pledge has ignited the first major row of the election campaign.

Writing for MailOnline today Ms Trevelyan said that those volunteering for the military would not be sent to fight, and that the scheme would teach practical and soft skills 'which cannot be taught in the classroom or the lecture theatre'.

But critics from across the political divide have dismissed the plans as unserious while leading military figures expressed skepticism about how they would work and suggested the money would be better spent on Armed Forces investment.

Asked about whether young royals would be made to take part, or teenagers with caring responsibilities, Ms Trevelyan told Sky News it would be down to a Royal Commission to decide the scope.

But she added: 'Fundamentally the Prime Minister has been clear this would be for the vast majority of our young people, our 18 year-olds, this would be a mandatory part of both their continued education and journey to adulthood.'

Anne-Marie Trevelyan said 'the vast majority of our young people' would be expected to turn out for the mandatory programme under Rishi Sunak's new election proposal.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan said 'the vast majority of our young people' would be expected to turn out for the mandatory programme under Rishi Sunak's new election proposal.

Prince George, 10, would be the first young royal made to undertake the scheme when he turns 18 in July 2031, followed a year later by Princess Charlotte, nine, and three years later by Prince Louis, six.

Princess Beatrice and Eugenie also have young children who would be eligible to take part once they reach the age of 18, as well as Prince Edward's son, the Earl of Wessex, 16.

Rishi Sunak made the first major policy announcement of the general election campaign on Sunday, vowing to bring back National Service for 18-year-olds - a scheme that has not been seen in the UK since 1960.

The Prime Minister received backlash after launching the proposal but said he wanted the change to instill a 'shared sense of purpose' in today's youth.

The Royal family has a long history of serving in the military with Prince William a Sandhurst graduate before he spent seven-and-a-half years in full-time military service.

Mr Cleverly said the service would 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 clarified details of the scheme saying the military part will be paid, but the voluntary section would not be.

The Tories also revealed plans on how they would encourage teenagers to apply for the military scheme, including participants being potentially favoured over other applicants when applying for jobs.

One of the options is the introduction of fast-tracked routes into graduate schemes and the civil service for those who have served.

File image shows the Prince and Princess of Wales with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, at RAF Fairford last year

File image shows the Prince and Princess of Wales with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, at RAF Fairford last year

A family portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth II with some of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, including (back row, left to right) Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and James, Earl of Wessex, (middle row, left to right) Lena Tindall, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Isla Phillips, Prince Louis, and (front row, left to right) Mia Tindall holding Lucas Tindall and Savannah Phillips taken at Balmoral Palace. The young royals will not be exempt from national service

A family portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth II with some of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, including (back row, left to right) Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and James, Earl of Wessex, (middle row, left to right) Lena Tindall, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Isla Phillips, Prince Louis, and (front row, left to right) Mia Tindall holding Lucas Tindall and Savannah Phillips taken at Balmoral Palace. The young royals will not be exempt from national service

The Royal family has a long history of serving in the military

The Royal family has a long history of serving in the military

Another is that employers are encouraged to consider Armed Forces recruits during the hiring process and that participants are given the opportunity to highlight their military experience on their UCAS applications  for university and apprenticeships.

However, the Armed Forces option would be selective – with only around 30,000 placements for 'the brightest and best'.

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Rishi Sunak fights back after his National Service plan is ridiculed: PM insists bold scheme will 'open doors' for teenagers when applying for jobs or university

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On Sunday, Mr Sunak said: 'National Service schemes in countries around the world show just how fulfilling it is for young people.

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Teenagers say Rishi Sunak's National Service plan is a winner - but voters of all ages say they have mixed views on the idea

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'We want to make sure Britain's future generations can get the most out of National Service, that's why we're looking into ways it can open doors they wouldn't otherwise get in work or education.

'Only the Conservatives will take the bold action required to deliver a secure future for the next generation.'

Mr Cleverly said the plans show the Tories are investing in young people and trying to address some of the challenges that today's youth 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,' he said.

A Labour Party spokesperson said the announcement was 'another desperate £2.5billion 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.

In European nations with national service, members of the royal family are expected to take part.

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway recently began her 12-month military placement with the Engineer Battalion

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway recently began her 12-month military placement with the Engineer Battalion

Spain's Crown Princess Leonor is undergoing three years of military training, although the country no longer has national service

Spain's Crown Princess Leonor is undergoing three years of military training, although the country no longer has national service

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway recently began her 12-month military placement with the Engineer Battalion.

Spain's Crown Princess Leonor is undergoing three years of military training, although the country no longer has national service.

Studies from Norway and Israel, which have national military service schemes, suggest they give youngsters a 'leg up' into subsequent careers, the Tories said.

The Conservatives have promised to establish a Royal Commission, bringing in expertise from across the military and civil society to establish the details of the programme. It will be asked to look at models in other countries to design incentives for those taking part in Britain.

The party said the commission would be tasked with bringing forward a proposal for how to ensure the first pilot is open for applications in September 2025.

After that, it would seek to introduce a new 'National Service Act' to make the measures compulsory by the end of the next Parliament, the party said.

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