Prince Harry promoted but faces long wait for return to front line
Following his success in Afghanistan, Prince Harry will next month be promoted to lieutenant, but may have to wait for up to two years before he can return to the front line.
The 23-year-old’s promotion from second lieutenant will see his salary rise from £23,375 to £28,216 – an increase of £13 a day but the extra money will not affect Harry, who has a private fortune of several million.
His commanding officer made the decision to make him a full lieutenant after seeing him complete ‘two years’ reckonable service’ since leaving Sandhurst. The move will make him of a higher ranking than his older brother, William.
However, the promotion is bitter sweet for the young royal, who simply wants to return to operations in Afghanistan as soon as possible.
The Prince said: ‘Once you are back from operations everything is a bit of an anti-climax. You go back to your unit and there you are, day in day out, the same routine…
‘At least in operations you are kept on your toes the whole time. That’s what guys join up for I guess – that adrenaline.’
But the head of the Army, Chief of the General Staff General Sir Richard Dannatt, said yesterday that any normal junior officer would expect a period of recuperation and retraining, so it would be ‘hypothetical for the next 12 to 18 months’ whether the prince would be deployed again.
And Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, head of the Armed Forces, said Harry would only be sent back to the front line if his presence would not put others in greater danger of attack.
Yesterday Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Karim claimed he knew some time ago that the prince – an ‘important chicken’ – was in Afghanistan, and ordered his men to hunt him down. Intelligence sources dismissed his claims as ‘wishful thinking’.
But the Prince has made it clear he does not want to be a ‘poster boy’ for the Army, telling friends he is embarrassed at the media frenzy, and just wants to get his ‘hands dirty’ again.
One friend said: ‘All the publicity is starting to get to him and he is really rather embarrassed about the fuss.
‘Harry feels that he is no different to any of the men serving out there and shouldn’t be singled out.’
Harry added the he is ‘no hero’ and pointed to two fellow soldiers on his flight one who had lost an arm and a leg as being the real heroes.
Speaking at RAF Brize Norton, he said: ‘Both (were) out cold throughout the flight. Those are the heroes, those were guys who had been blown up by a mine they had no idea about, serving their country.’
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He added: ‘It is a bit of a choke in your throat.’
Yesterday, the Prince was spending time with his girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, at Highgrove, Prince Charles’ Gloucestershire home.