Britain’s Prince Harry arrives in Australia for army stint
Prince Harry reported for duty in Canberra on Monday for a month with the Australian Army during which he will take part in bush patrols and possibly fly helicopters, as he prepares to retire from the British military.
Hundreds of well-wishers turned out to see the 30-year-old prince at the National War Memorial in Canberra – the one scheduled public event of his visit – before he met with the head of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin.
After jetting into Canberra, via Sydney, Prince Harry arrived to cheers at the war memorial where he laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
As the Last Post played, he saluted the tomb and observed a minute’s silence before a tour through galleries on World War I and Afghanistan, where the prince has served with British forces.
The energetic royal then spent time greeting the crowd outside, some of whom had waited for hours.
As some chanted “Harry, Harry, Harry” to get his attention, the prince made his way around the barricades, including to speak with a child who had a home-made poster reading “Redheads Rule”.
During his time Down Under, Captain Wales, as he is known in the British Army, will be embedded with Australian army units and regiments in Sydney, Darwin and Perth.
“He is expected to take part in a range of unit-based activities and training exercises,” the Australian Defence Force said in a statement announcing his arrival last week.
“These will include urban training exercises, regional bush patrols, flight simulation and aviation activities, joint fire exercises and indigenous engagement activities.”
The prince, who has flown Apache helicopters for Britain, has reportedly also asked to fly choppers in Australia, although his exact schedule has not been released.
A Defence Force spokesman said the credentials of the prince, who will become fifth in line to the throne upon the birth of his brother Prince William’s second child, would need to be checked first.
Building on Prince Harry’s interest in veterans affairs, opportunities to meet with wounded, injured and ill service personnel will also be provided while in Australia. - AFP