Prince Harry was among the soldiers who participated in a parade/ceremony to honor the 24 British, Danish, American and Czech soldiers who lost their lives during the deployment of the 52 Infantry Brigade in Helmand Province from October 2007 to April 2008 — the same tour of duty that Prince Harry secretly served in Afghanistan himself. Here are a few photos of Prince Harry among the 200 servicemen and women on Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile ahead of a service at the city’s St Giles’ Cathedral earlier today:
PRINCE Harry took part in a memorial to troops who fell during his tour of Afghanistan today. The 23-year-old Household Cavalry officer joined 200 servicemen and women on Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile ahead of a service at the city’s St Giles’ Cathedral. The event was held to pay tribute to the 24 British, Danish, American and Czech soldiers who lost their lives during the deployment of the 52 Infantry Brigade in Helmand Province from October to April. But it came as news emerged of the deaths of four British soldiers in a blast east of Lashkar Gah. Harry was among the 200 soldiers, sailors and airmen representing their units in the colourful parade through the centre of Edinburgh’s Old Town. The troops, led by a dozen-strong pipe band, were applauded by the hundreds of onlookers who made their way down to the cathedral from the start at Johnston Terrace. There were shouts of “Well done” as the soldiers passed by. Harry wore his khaki service dress and a navy cap with a red trim. The troops went on to join families of those killed or wounded at the memorial service, along with UK Defence Secretary Des Browne and his Danish counterpart, Soren Gade. The Prince spent 10 weeks on the frontline before being flown home in February amid fears for his safety when his deployment was reported in foreign media. Around 7,500 soldiers were deployed under 52 Brigade command on Operation Herrick 7. The Brigade, whose headquarters are at Edinburgh Castle, handed over to 16 Air Assault on April 10. Harry’s involvement was kept secret by the UK media to prevent details reaching the Taliban and endangering him and his comrades. He was removed after news was leaked on a US website.
It’s great that Harry wanted to be part of this memorial event today. I’m sure it meant a lot to him to stand up and publicly honor his fallen comrades so that the public is aware of their sacrifice. His involvement in today’s ceremony brings more attention to the event and does raise public awareness (ie. I had no idea this event was to take place and now I do). Unlike Prince William’s military involvement (which has been relegated to sequestered service in flight school, on tiny boats, etc.), Harry’s involvement put him right in danger’s way. Now, I’m not entirely sure how much danger Prince Harry was really in when he served in Afghanistan earlier this year but I know it wasn’t entirely safe. The princes are really making a public show of their military service that likens them to any other British citizen who chooses to serve in the military … which is a far cry from the way leaders in our government operate when it comes to military service (ie. you don’t see the Bush daughters serving in the military). Props and kudos go out to the princes of England for their service, no matter how real or unreal it may be.