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The Defence Secretary is expected to announce in the next two weeks whether Harry will be deployed on active service to Iraq. According to reports his unit has already been told to prepare for a six-month tour of duty beginning in April
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The last senior royal to serve on military operations was Prince Andrew, who flew helicopters during the Falklands conflict
Photo: © Alphapress.com

Harry's unit looks set to be deployed to Iraq in April

19 FEBRUARY 2007

He's always wanted to be treated as an ordinary soldier, and now it looks like Prince Harry may get his wish, as Army commanders prepare to send the Prince's regiment to Iraq. If Harry joins his fellow soldiers on the tour of duty it will be the first time a member of the Royal Family has taken part in military operations since Prince Andrew flew helicopters in the Falklands conflict 25 years ago.

Apparently the 'A' squadron of the Blues and Royals regiment, of which the 22-year-old Prince is a member, was last week unofficially warned to prepare for a six-month stint in southern Iraq, starting in April. The biggest problem for Army chiefs will be resolving issues around the Prince's security. "Although everyone wants to seem him go, his obvious and overt presence could increase the risk to those he commands as well as to himself," said one senior officer.

The third-in-line currently enjoys round-the-clock protection from the Metropolitan Police in the UK. But having bodyguards while in action could prove problematic. One alternative would be to assign him to a role away from the front line - although he's been trained to lead a 12-strong armoured reconnaissance patrol unit.

Defence Secretary Des Browne is expected to make an official announcement on the April rotation of units on February 26. No decisions have yet been finalised, but Harry has reportedly warned he will quit the Army if he's unable to join his men on operations.

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