Prince Harry: In the Army Now

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Prince Harry has had his fair share of scrapes with the media, but it’s nothing compared to his tours of duty.

By Chris Ritchie

Prince Harry – fourth in line to succession to the throne, the second son of Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales – has forged himself a good career in the military, following in the footsteps of his uncle, Prince Andrew.

Rather than taking the expected educational route into university, the Prince signed up with the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in Surrey in May 2005 where, as Officer Cadet Wales, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Blues and Royals, a regiment of the Household Cavalry.

Alarmingly for some observers, in February 2007 it was announced that Harry would be going out to the frontline in Iraq with his regiment. But Harry was very matter-of-fact about the decision, stating that he had no intention of going through all the training just to stay home while his colleagues were out there fighting for their country.

The head of the British army then made an about-turn amid concerns that Harry was a high-value target and several threats had been made on his life. Obviously disappointed, it wasn’t long before the Prince was off to Alberta to train with Canadian and British soldiers in preparation for a tour in the Helmand region of Afghanistan. It was reported that Harry indeed saw action in the Afghan War – calling in air strikes, repelling Taliban attacks and going on patrols.

A statement from the royal home in London, Clarence House, at the time said: “Prince Harry is very proud to serve his country on operations alongside his fellow soldiers and to do the job he has been trained for.”

He then followed his brother William into the Defence Helicopter Flying School at RAF Shawbury, Shropshire. By May 2010 he had received his wings, and in March of the following year he passed his Apache flying test. A month later he was promoted to the rank of Captain.

And so Harry, or Captain Wales, was ready for active deployment. In September 2012, he landed at Camp Bastion in southern Afghanistan to begin a four-month tour. This considerably baited the Taliban, who almost immediately issued further death threats. They didn’t get the Prince, who arrived back safely in the UK in January.

Although his future military involvement is yet to be seen, Harry remains an operational Apache helicopter pilot with the Army Air Corps who will likely put his life on the line again in fighting for his country.

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