Britain’s Prince Harry, an army officer and third in line to the throne, could be deployed to Iraq by the end of February, a newspaper reported Saturday.
The 22-year-old will be sent to Basra, southern Iraq, where Britain has more than 7,000 troops, the Daily Mirror said, citing an unnamed senior military source.
A royal family spokesman declined to comment on the report, while the Ministry of Defense said it was “entirely speculative.”
“No final decisions have been made on which units are even taking over,” a spokeswoman said. “When it is made, then parliament will be told first in the normal way.”
Harry is likely to be in charge of 12 soldiers in light armored vehicles performing reconnaissance missions in he desert, the newspaper said.
Defense Secretary Des Browne is expected to announce the news officially on Feb. 26, the report said.
Harry, whose mother Princess Diana died in a Paris car crash when he was 12, is a Second Lieutenant in the Blues and Royals, part of the Household Cavalry.
‘He will see action,’ source says
“The final details are being sorted, but he is definitely going,” the Mirror quoted the source as saying. “Naturally, his royal status has to be taken into account — but he will see action.”
A report in the Daily Telegraph earlier this month said defense chiefs were drawing up a plan to deploy Harry without putting his life or those of his troops in any greater danger.
Although Harry was branded a “wild child” in the tabloid press when he was younger after admitting to smoking cannabis and under-age drinking, he went on to pass a grueling military officer training course at the Sandhurst military academy.
“There is no way I am going to put myself through Sandhurst and then sit on my arse back home while my boys are out fighting for their country,” he said in an interview in 2005.