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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 September, 2003, 05:47 GMT 06:47 UK
Harry heads Down Under for gap year
Prince Harry has a reputation for liking to party
Prince Harry arrives in Australia this week, at the start of his gap year before joining the military.

The 19-year-old is scheduled to stay Down Under for three months.

After his year off, he plans to enrol for officer training at the military academy at Sandhurst in Surrey, and then follow an army career.

He is expected to devote a lot of his time in Australia to sports - watching the Rugby World Cup and playing polo, probably for Australian tycoon Kerry Packer's team.

Harry has already captained a Young England team and could do so again at Millamolong, New South Wales, in a special Ambassador's Cup match.

The prince will probably play quite a lot of polo

Armed officers from Scotland Yard's royalty protection branch are travelling with the prince.

The estimated 600,000 cost for the 12-strong squad has already caused some controversy in the press.

Australia is the number one destination for British gap year students and the prince, who has a reputation for partying, is expected to have a good time.

The Sunday Express interviewed some girls on Bondi Beach in Sydney to ask them what they made of Harry's visit.

One, TV girl Angela Tsu, 21, said: "I think he should shrug off his security guards, grab a board and come on down here. Harry is a young spunk."

'Cultural theft'

St James's Palace has not said whether the prince will meet any members of the Aboriginal artist community.

He managed to upset many prominent artists, well before even heading to Australia.

Prince Harry
Harry upset Aboriginal artists with his A-level style
They said Aboriginal-style paintings he created for his A-level art exam earlier this year misused motifs and were "cultural theft".

St James's Palace apologised for any offence caused.

Harry, the third in line to the throne, gained two A-levels before leaving Eton - a B in art and a D in geography.

St James' Palace officials have confirmed Harry has applied to Sandhurst and wants to be a career soldier.

However, it has not been made public what regiment he would prefer or how long he would like his commission to be.

Nor is it known how he will be spending the remaining months of his gap year.

Are you going on a gap year? How will you fund your travels? Send us your stories using the postform

Most people have to either save up prior to their travels by working long hours or by working in poorly paid jobs whilst they are travelling. Unfortunately, they do not have a very wealthy family funded by the UK public to pay for their trips.
Simon, UK

I took a gap year before heading to university about five years ago now. Although it was tough financially (and in many ways I am still paying for it now) I do not regret it for a moment. I went travelling with a friend to New Zealand and Australia for three months then went travelling with my boyfriend to Bavaria, Germany, worked in Edinburgh for three months before travelling round Scotland for a month, then worked in Galway, Ireland for five months. I think everyone should at some point in their lives have a gap year - my friend took one in her late twenties.
Ruth Boreham, Scotland

After I graduated I headed straight off for Oz and NZ. Its the best thing I ever did, even if I did have to fund the second half mainly on my credit cards. Ok, so I'm paying for it now, but it was an intentional debt and given the choice I would do exactly the same again. Your only young once, and I have my whole life to pay for my time there.
Iain, UK

I have just graduated and am intending to spend my Gap year in the famous Gap in the mountains of Finland. The idea is that you join other students in a large natural gap (canyon) and spend 3 months surviving only on what the gap provides. It adds a new slant on the concept of a gap year.
Chris Wright, UK

I hope to go back to the UK (I've been there once) and go across to Europe and see as much as I can! (Great to see some many people want to come on down to Australia!)
Erin, Australia

My girlfriend and I went to Australia for 3 months in between leaving school and starting uni. It was the best thing we ever did. She has family there so that saved some money, but we still spent over 2000. This may be because we saw everything. From Perth to Ayers Rock, Melbourne to Adelaide and Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef. If you're in Sydney you have to climb the bridge. The best thing I have done in my life. Period!
Matthew Paterson, Scotland

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Prince Harry's A-level results
14 Aug 03  |  Education
The trouble with Harry
13 Sep 02  |  Newsmakers

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