UK's Prince Harry quits battlefield as royal family reshapes

Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:53am EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Prince Harry is quitting front-line military roles to help organize commemorative events, the latest member of Britain's royal family to take on more official duties as Queen Elizabeth scales down her workload.

His office said on Friday the prince, a captain in the army who is fourth in line to the British throne, would transfer to a desk job having just finished an attachment that took him to Afghanistan as an attack helicopter pilot.

Among his tasks will be helping to organize Trooping the Colour, an annual military parade and fly-past in London to celebrate the birthday of his grandmother, the queen, who turns 88 this year.

Harry, 29, spent 3-1/2 years on attachment to the Army Air Corps and returned a year ago from a 20-week posting in Afghanistan, his second tour of duty in the country.

His military role has enhanced his status in Britain and helped overcome his earlier reputation as a royal wild child, despite a setback in 2012 when he was photographed partying naked and playing billiards in a private room in Las Vegas.

Over the past year, Harry has taken a back seat in the British press with the spotlight on his elder brother, William, 31, and wife Kate who celebrated the birth of their first child, Prince George, last July.

Both brothers are held in affection by the British public as the two sons of the Princess Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

Harry's public image was further enhanced late last year when he joined wounded soldiers on a two-week trek across Antarctica to raise funds for military charities.

His move to a desk job comes as his father, Prince Charles and brother William take on more official duties as the Queen scales back her workload.   Continued...

 
Britain's Prince Harry walks to a Christmas Day morning service at the church on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, eastern England, December 25, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Winning