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Old February 22nd, 2007, 01:32 PM  
Whisper
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Name: Kodie
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Exclamation Prince Harry will serve in Iraq: Defence Ministry


Prince Harry will soon be giving up the comforts of life as a Royal to serve a six-month tour in Iraq.

Britain's Defence Secretary Des Browne told Parliament on Thursday morning that Harry's regiment, the Blues and Royals, will be deployed to southern Iraq to join other British forces already stationed there.

Browne confirmed that Harry, who is third in line to the British throne, would go to Iraq along with the regiment. Harry has insisted he has no qualms about serving in harm's way and wants to be treated the same as any other soldier.

It is not yet known what Harry's duties would entail, but the British government has noted his presence could jeopardize the safety of his fellow troops.

From the streets on Thursday, Londoners wondered about the danger involved in having British royalty in the mix with the other troops, since Harry's presence might make him an attractive target for attack.

'Harry's a naughty boy'

"It's like attracting more of an attack … people are going to be more tempted to do something because he's a Royal and all that," one local man said. "I think he just did it for the media, the publicity stunt, just to say he did it."

Others acknowledged that though Harry is a prince, he is also a member of the army and so should not be held back from doing his duty, even if it means shipping off to a combat zone.

"I doubt whether they'll put him in too much harm's way, but again it looks the part if he heads over there," another Londoner said. "It's important for him to be seen to embrace the U.K.; he's got to do his bit."

The reaction from London will probably be mostly supportive of Harry's mission, editor of Majesty Magazine Ingrid Seward told CBC Newsworld.
"Harry's very popular because Harry's a naught boy, one can relate to him," Seward said. "They think he's brave, he's fearless, he goes for it."
Harry, who is known as Cornet Wales and Troop Commander Wales by his regiment, has said there was "no way" he was undergoing such rigorous training only to be kept away from the battlefield. He is trained to command 11 soldiers and four Scimitar scout cars.

Royals 'should be very proud of him'

As far as the Royal Family goes, Seward said, "I think they should be very proud of him because they know that this is what he really wants to do, and if your child or grandchildren does something that he really wants to do, you can only be pleased."

The Guardian newspaper reported Thursday that the Blues and Royals Regiment would begin the six-month Iraq tour in April. Harry's 'A' Squadron would be part of a Household Cavalry detachment as 1 Mechanized Brigade replaces 19 Light Brigade after a six-month rotation, the newspaper said.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that Britain would be reducing its commitment in Iraq, withdrawing 1,600 soldiers in the next few months.

Harry's uncle, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, was the last Royal to see action in a combat zone. Andrew fought in the 1982 Falkland Islands war as a helicopter pilot in the navy, flying missions in which his helicopter was used as a decoy to protect ships from missile attacks.
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