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Prince Harry to Iraq

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    Harry Iraq deployment no surprise By Nicholas Witchell BBC Royal correspondent Thursday, 22 February 2007 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6385169.stm The
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 23, 2007
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      Harry Iraq deployment no surprise
      By Nicholas Witchell
      BBC Royal correspondent
      Thursday, 22 February 2007
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6385169.stm


      The deployment of Prince Harry's regiment to Iraq has been confirmed
      by the Ministry of Defence. The prince has always said he wants to be
      taken seriously as a soldier.

      Prince Harry is said to have bonded well with the men he commands

      He joined the army as a career.

      He wants to be taken seriously as a soldier, which is why he made it
      clear after he'd finished his officer training at Sandhurst that he
      would leave the army if he was left behind when his regiment was sent
      to a war zone.

      And so, just as the prime minister announces the start of Britain's
      phased withdrawal from Iraq, Second Lieutenant Harry Wales of the
      Household Cavalry, is preparing for a tour of duty in that country.

      It is the riskiest military deployment by a member of the royal family
      since his uncle, Prince Andrew, headed off to the Falkland Islands as
      a Royal Navy helicopter pilot in the conflict of 1982.

      Harry's departure for Iraq will, self-evidently, pose a significant
      challenge to those charged with ensuring his safety.

      To have the third in line to the British throne on active service in
      what, for a British soldier, is an extremely hostile environment will
      be an added pressure for Britain's already hard-pressed military
      commanders.

      Fulfilling obligations

      Yet it shouldn't really be a surprise that Harry is going.

      It is still the case that the majority of male members of the family
      have served in one or other of the forces' branches


      Prince to serve in Iraq

      In purely practical terms, the British operation in southern Iraq
      still requires the reconnaissance skills that the Household Cavalry,
      with its light tanks and armoured vehicles, can provide.

      In personal terms, Harry is keen to go.

      He is said to have bonded well with the dozen men he commands in his
      troop.

      He wants to be there with them; to lead them and to put into practice
      what he's been taught in training.

      Furthermore - despite the obvious misgivings about safety - the royal
      family will want and expect him fully to fulfil his obligations as a
      serving soldier.

      If he were first or second in the line of succession the safety
      considerations would take precedence.

      But, unlike his elder brother, Harry has the freedom to pursue a
      (relatively) orthodox military career and show what he's capable of.

      Emotional ties

      It shouldn't be forgotten that there is no constituency with which the
      royal family has closer emotional or instinctive ties than the armed
      forces.


      Prince Andrew served in the Falklands war

      It is still the case that the majority of male members of the family
      have served in one or other of the forces' branches.

      From the Duke of Edinburgh's wartime service in the Royal Navy, via
      the army careers of the Kent brothers (the Duke, 21 years: Prince
      Michael, 20 years), to the naval service of Princes Charles and Andrew
      and, now, the army careers of Harry and his elder brother William.

      Harry's deployment to Iraq with the rest of his men from 'A' Squadron
      of the Blues and Royals is an example of the royal family standing
      alongside the families of other British soldiers, sailors, marines and
      airmen.

      A grandmother's anxiety is much the same in Windsor as it is in
      Wallasey or Wick, and in the context of this particular conflict, it
      is an anxiety which may perhaps be exacerbated in all of those places
      by doubts about the purpose of the whole endeavour.

      But Second Lieutenant Harry Wales will be there, doing his duty with
      the rest of his regiment, while his father, elder brother and
      grandmother will - with several thousand other British families -
      suddenly have a very personal stake in the progress of this particular
      campaign, and an insight into the stresses that it can provoke.

      They may even find themselves reflecting that not a single senior
      member of this government, the ministers of the Crown who committed
      Britain to the Iraqi intervention, has had an equivalent experience.

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