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Last Updated: Friday, 12 September, 2003, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
St Athan beckons for soldier prince
Prince Harry
Prince Harry intends to make a career as a soldier
Prince Harry may start his career as a serving soldier in Wales if he chooses to join the Army.

The smart money is on the young prince plumping for the Welsh Guards who have just moved from Aldershot to their new base at St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan - the first time they have been based in Wales since they were formed in 1915.

The 18-year-old Royal is thought to be applying to enter the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) to train as an Army officer following a gap year after leaving Eton.

St James' Palace officials said no firm decision on the prince's future had been made yet, although they have confirmed that he wants to be a career soldier.

Reports have been carried in both the tabloid and broadsheet press that the Welsh Guards would be Prince Harry's choice, although a recent magazine article speculates the Grenadier Guards and the Household Cavalry as other possible considerations.

At Eton he excelled in the school's Combined Cadet Force, earning the top rank of Cadet Officer purely on merit and not his position.

At RMAS he will learn military and leadership skills an officer after which he would join one of the regiments or Army corps of his choice.

Prince Harry
Could the Welsh Cavalry pose competition to the Welsh Guards?

Any move he makes to Wales' own Household Regiment will cement the family relationship since his father, Prince Charles, is Colonel of the Regiment.

The Welsh Guards were formed in 1915, by order of Prince Harry's great-great-grandfather King George V. The King wanted Wales to have its own Household Regiment similar to the Scots and Irish Guards.

Prince Harry was awarded a B in Art and a D in Geography in his GCE A Levels, which are just sufficient for him to apply to enter Sandhurst as an officer cadet.

However, he will not be guaranteed a place and will have to go through a gruelling interview, physical and mental testing to get the nod from the senior and experienced recruiters on the Regular Commissions Board.

It is unlikely that Prince Harry would rise to a senior post, according to an Army source.

Dangerous operations

Top officers these days tend to be university educated and many, such as General Sir Michael Jackson, the Army's most senior general as Chief of the General Staff, are fluent linguists.

If Prince Harry joined the Welsh Guards he would not only face ceremonial duties, but would also be involved in peacekeeping and other dangerous operations in places such as Kosovo and Northern Ireland.

The regiment were among those which took heavy casualties during the 1982 Falklands War when the troop ships Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram were bombed, killing 50 soldiers and injuring 150 more.

While, the Welsh Guards would undoubtedly welcome Prince Harry of Wales (his full title) as one of their officers, there could be a possible rival from another regiment which recruits in Wales.

Harry is a noted polo player and joining the Welsh Cavalry, 1st The Queens Dragoon Guards, could be an attractive proposition for a horseman.

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