BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in: Talking Point
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
Forum 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Friday, 18 January, 2002, 12:34 GMT
Prince Harry's drug use: Did Charles handle it well?
Prince Harry, Prince Charles' younger son, has admitted drinking heavily and smoking cannabis when he was 16 years old.

It has emerged that Prince Charles sent his son to visit a rehabilitation unit to see for himself the effects of serious drug abuse.

Chemical dependency experts have praised Prince Charles for his actions - but they have also cautioned that parents should be careful not to overreact if they find that their children are experimenting with drugs or alcohol.

Recent surveys have suggested that there is a rising drugs problem in the UK, with teenagers more likely than most of their European counterparts to have taken drugs, drunk alcohol or smoked.

Did Prince Charles handle the situation well in giving his son a "short, sharp shock"? Are we doing enough in the UK to tackle teenagers' use of drugs and alcohol?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction


Best of luck Harry and I hope it all turns out ok

Jo, Cyprus
Leave the poor kid alone. I lost my mother at his age and it does to mess you up. Give him a chance to rebel and enjoy himself a bit, just what most of us want at his age. I'm sure it won't lead to anything to bad. Best of luck Harry and I hope it all turns out ok. They are seriously making a big fuss out of not very much. Chill, and it will probably work out all right in the end. Good luck with it all,
Jo, Cyprus

Perhaps it was done as a lesson to Harry that everything he does is in the spotlight and that therefore he should watch himself closer? By taking him to the rehab centre Charles was effectively bringing the issue to the attention of the media where it might otherwise have gone unnoticed. If that is the case, I dislike his approach.
Heather, USA


He made a foolish error

Valerie, Los Angeles
Prince Charles handed the situation well. I agree with those of you who point out that Harry has had to handle the death of his mother and also the divorce of his parents. If this is all that he is guilty of then you will be lucky. He isn't allowed to make a private mistake before it's blasted all over the media. GET OVER IT. He made a foolish error and didn't betray his country.
Valerie, Los Angeles

So what? I think there are more important things in this world than reporting on a spoiled rich kid.
Stephen, USA


Let the boy enjoy his youth

Nigel, UK
Never have I laughed so much while watching the news. What a song and dance. I remember when I was seventeen I drank lots and smoked a joint. I since then have left school, gone on to university and ended up in a steady career. Let the boy enjoy his youth and let's focus on what is really going on in the world. I believe there are still children starving in Afghanistan.
Nigel, UK

Prince Charles handled the situation well. I think we in the UK need to crack down heavily on kids using drugs.
Maureen Dunlop, Scotland

It's all being treated as a huge joke here. He is being called Harry Pothead. It's not that long since the Bush girls were caught drinking underage. The media storm only lasted a few days then it was onto the next piece of trash.
Joan, USA


Queen Victoria smoked both pot and opium

Sharon B, UK
Queen Victoria smoked both pot and opium - this isn't new to the Royal Family and will never go away either. It is a societal problem and all recent events have shown the Royal Family to be just that - a family. Let them deal with their own problems by themselves. This is a problem that has been going on since dawn of time. Is there nothing else worthy of press attention at this time? He is 17! Leave him alone - its none of our business.
Sharon B, UK

Whilst I appreciate Prince Harry has had a privileged upbringing and that what he has done is clearly wrong, has everyone forgotten that he lost his mother not long ago and that this can have significant on-going effects? He is, after all, a teenager - which can be difficult at the best of times - but the added burden of personal grief can have much more far-reaching effects. Clearly the media have an extremely short memory! Harry's father appears to have dealt with the situation well and the problem should be regarded as closed. The pub which allowed under-age drinking is a totally different matter!
Drew , UK

Sending him off to be lectured by heroin addicts simply for smoking a few joints was an over-reaction to say the least. Charles should have dealt with the problem himself. As for the 'prosecute him' brigade, it has for some years been the practice for police to simply caution anyone caught with cannabis intended for 'personal' use (1/4 ounce or less). They certainly wouldn't dream of attempting to prosecute anyone for smoking a few spliffs sometime last year. A complete waste of police time and public money. In spite of this, the News of the World have apparently sent a 'dossier' of Harry's 'drinking and drug taking' to the police. I hope it was filed where it belongs, in the bin.
Mick B, UK

I think the only difference between Prince Harry and 80% of 17 year old boys is that (a) he got caught (b) he got put on the front of a paper and it went from there. Leave the kid alone. He's had a tough enough time.
Mel, UK


It beats grafting in the factory for forty years and getting nowt for your trouble

Hugh Payne, Yorkshire, England
The Royal Family are given everything from cradle to grave - partly with our tax money. The least they can do to repay this privilege is behave responsibly as our national figureheads. It's a terrible position to be in; but it beats grafting in the factory for forty years and getting nowt for your trouble. No sympathy for the lad.
Hugh Payne, Yorkshire, England

Come on now. Be honest. We all used substances when we were young, and if alcohol and marijuana were the only ones we used, our parents might well have been relieved.
Larry, US

I notice Larry, US thinks that we all used substances when we were young. I'm glad he doesn't speak for me. Hugh Payne's view is more realistic - why waste time and sympathy on this miscreant bunch of wasters. Let's talk about something more important.
Robert Crosby, UK

When Prince Charles was about 14 and was caught drinking cherry brandy at a pub near Gordonstoun, the papers went into a similar uproar. It's just what is to be expected in coverage of the Royal family. I think the worst part of this story is that Charles was irresponsible enough to leave a 16-year-old on his own, especially since adolescence is a rough period and Harry has only him as his one remaining parent. It seems to me that the papers should be looking at that and reviving that headline, "What kind of a Dad are you?", but the Royal spin doctors have done their job so well that no one even questions why Harry wasn't being looked after appropriately in the first place.
Denise, USA

I think that the reaction to this is so British, it's so hypocritical. Harry is 17 and is just doing what a great deal of 17-year-olds do, the fact that he is a member of the Royal Family just puts him in the unfortunate position of being constantly unfairly scrutinised. Why do we have these double standards? Prince Harry drank a few pints and smoked a joint, big deal, but because people found out about it and it's not the "public image" that is expected there is a big scandal about it. I think this has a lot to do with the tabloids, willing to drag someone's name through the dirt or ruin their lives for the sake of a good story and also to do with the British attitude of thinking people, especially those in the public eye should present a certain image and shaming them if they don't. The truth is real life isn't like that. I am British but I live abroad now and I know that in many countries something like this probably wouldn't have even made the newspaper never mind the front page.
M Southern, Netherlands

Just say no to the Royal Family. Genetically modified OK magazine fodder.
Colin Harrison, UK

Words fail me! How am I supposed to guide my teenage daughter when role models such as Harry Windsor misbehave with impunity? I hope the police prosecute. Or maybe we should legalise pot? Signed a confused father
Julian Rawle, British based in US

I'd say for a kid caught in the middle of one of the most publicized separations in modern history and whose mother died in a horrific car wreck, Prince Harry has actually turned out very well. People should leave him alone.
Tom, USA


The law clearly says that cannabis is illegal

Bob, UK
If I understand correctly, there is solid evidence that Harry used an illegal drug. The fact that a member of the Royal Family is breaking the law should be the most important aspect of this news but reading the article I see no mention of this. The law clearly says that cannabis is illegal and that there is a five-year prison sentence for use of class B drugs. I wonder whether the law would have been applied if he had been a year older?
Bob, UK

When my youngest son was eight years old, I caught him stealing from my purse. Being a one-parent family at the time, any loss of money, however small affected us all. I decided to nip it in the bud. So I took him to our local police station and asked the desk sergeant to have a chat with him, even giving us a tour of the cells, just to show him what can happen if you get involved in crime. Some people thought my approach was wrong, but all I can say that my son now 33, has always said it was the best thing I ever did for him. So I think yes Prince Charles was right to show Harry the results of drug abuse.
Mal, UK

Although not a royalist, I think Charles has probably handled it well and it's a fuss about very little. I don't think the odd joint or drink will do the young man too much harm, and it's better than him having been cushioned in snooty royal circles all his life.
Bill, Truro, England

I think that Prince Harry should receive any punishment that any normal citizen would get for drug possession. I don't agree with the direction that the drug war is going, but leaders should experience the effects of punishment for themselves if they want to keep things the way they are. (Punishment for drug possession is far worse in the US). If the laws are truly fair, the Royal Family should have no problem with Harry receiving a proper sentence. If the laws are unfair, they can change the laws.
Pam, US

For Pam in the US who said Harry should get the same treatment as any other citizen: Just to let you know here in the UK we are not citizens, we are subjects of HM the Queen. I think her grandson probably does not come under the same banner as the rest of us. Right or wrong that's the truth. Personally I could care less about what Harry does. He's growing up and behaving like a teenager. It's only because of the insatiable hunger of the press for sensation that we have any idea about this at all. I'd say to him - go for it!
Sven, UK


I'm surprised the boy isn't on the heroin already

Joanna, United Kingdom
Harry is a 17-year-old boy whose mother died when he was 13, and his family expressed palpable relief and little grief or emotion. Then his father's girlfriend moved in to the family home, and he knew that she and the affair had caused his mother great hurt. His mother's memory is confined to people who make money out of it and he spends an awful lot of time without his one remaining parent. His older brother is away at university and is largely seen by the public as a replacement for Diana and he is ignored. His aunts and uncles are all emotionally dysfunctional, good God! I'm surprised the boy isn't on the heroin already!
Joanna, United Kingdom

By taking swift and firm reaction, I think Prince Charles has made his point. There should be no tolerance of breaking the law and a public show of discipline is a good start.
Will Mann, UK

What a load of over-hyped rubbish. Go Harry - you're only young once. Enjoy yourself while you can.
Andy, UK

The main issue here is not the fact that Harry has been smoking pot, but that he has not been sharing. Surely he should have passed the occasional spliff to the Queen Mum to help her with her arthritis? This boy needs to be taught some manners!
Will Faulkner, UK


The whole drug culture is sordid beyond belief

Nigel, UK
It's an absolute disgrace. If he had been my son there would have been major repercussions. To all you liberals, we don't need such 'recreational' drugs in this world. I don't care how harmless you may think they are, the whole drug culture is sordid beyond belief.
Nigel, UK

Surely Charles should have accompanied his son to the local police station to discuss the source of supply of the cannabis?
Andrew, UK


Saying the odd joint leads to hard drugs is like saying the odd glass of wine leads to alcoholism

Alan Wood, UK
Saying the odd joint leads to hard drugs is like saying the odd glass of wine leads to alcoholism. As usual the gutter press shows outstanding hypocrisy. Anyone working in the media knows; it's a profession rife with drug and alcohol abuse.
Alan Wood, UK

Charles did good but Harry should've stayed in for a week or two to have a real experience. Then, perhaps a future king of England just might turn into a role model one day for other kids using drugs.
Anthony Sivabalan, Malaysia


As a recovering heroin addict, I believe the Palace completely overreacted

Lydia, UK
As a recovering heroin addict, I believe the Palace has completely overreacted and find it stupid that Prince Charles felt the need to drag Harry along to a rehab centre to show him the 'effects of drugs' when Harry hadn't even touched hard drugs such as heroin or cocaine. Shock scare tactics have been proven not to work - and this sends out the usual utterly useless message to teenagers - that cannabis is a gateway drug and highly addictive - which is rubbish. Harry should instead be praised for doing something normal for a teenager of his age.
Lydia, UK

It's curious that this story is being force-fed to us in massive quantities now, but apparently it all took place some time ago. Something about a small military operation in Afghanistan may have made the red top papers want to hold on to it until there was less focus on important global issues.
Jamie, UK

Considering both Harry's mishaps are illegal I find it strange that the police have not commented. Surely the landlord who knowingly supplies drink to an under-age person should be paid a visit? So many people on this forum are stating that alcohol is the worse of the two so why has this not happened?
Tony, UK


If someone with such a wholesome upbringing as the prince has used alcohol and cannabis perhaps the penalties should not be so harsh

John Coggins, UK
Being of similar age to the prince, I found it laughable the way the issue was addressed on the news last night. The amount of teenagers who engage in these activities is greater than the 17% quoted and I believe it to be a relatively harmless part of growing up. The media should take this news as an awakening. If someone with such a wholesome upbringing as the prince has used alcohol and cannabis perhaps the penalties should not be so harsh. Are we punishing ourselves for living?
John Coggins, UK

Harry is experimenting while young as opposed to when older. He will get mocked by his peers for getting sent to a rehab centre, though. Charles should have dealt with this himself on a father-son level and kept those meddling professionals out of it.
Martin, UK


Sending him to rehab was just a media stunt

Jon, UK
Poor Harry growing up with such a backward parent! Sending him to rehab was just a media stunt. Any normal parent (mine included) would have taken the child to the side for a good old chat. Charles is like many people of his generation, way behind the times!
Jon, UK

Prince Charles should have analysed the situation slightly more and realised that the problem is unlikely to be anything to do with drink or drugs and much more likely to do with being constantly in the public eye and having his mother die under such tragic circumstances. It seems to me that Charles is more happy to blame this on the evils of drugs and the wrong crowd when perhaps he should look at his own role as a supportive father.
Dougal Wise, UK


I'm 16 and I've tried dope

Sophie, UK
I'm 16, and what is actually going on? The media is so screwed up. I'm ready to admit that I've tried dope and of course, drinking under-age, everyone does it. Harry is a model kid (and if anyone's got his phone number, I'll have it!) Go Harry, you're an example to us all.
Sophie, UK

Of much greater concern than the fact that Harry has experimented with pot or alcohol is the rather rude and arrogant outbursts both Harry and William have exhibited, whether it's Harry's xenophobic "frog" comments or William on horseback chasing down a photographer. Being a Royal does not make one immune to the arrogance and self-centredness that infects privileged youth everywhere.
Andy Lehrer, Canada


There is no talk of the legal implications, both for Harry and his supplier!

Simon Mallett, UK
Clearly the discovery of Harry's drug-taking and the visit to the clinic happened some time ago and is only now being made public. I wonder whether the event coincided with the new softly-softly approach of the police and whether it was linked? I find it interesting that there is no talk of the legal implications, both for Harry and his supplier!
Simon Mallett, UK

Give Prince Harry a break. He has tried what most lads of his age have. It's the usual story of the British media looking to make Harry's life a misery just as they did with his mother!
Mike, UK

Losing a famous mother at 13 years of age is enough for anyone, let alone a person who is in the public eye all the time. I wish people would let others get on with their lives without resorting to getting the most media attention out of something so everyday. People are always so quick to condemn but so soon to forget. If people lived less in the pocket of celebrities the world would be a lot better.
Karen, England


Queen Victoria regularly smoked cannabis

Alexandra Evans, UK
It's great to see that a member of the Royal Family is smoking cannabis. Harry is not the first and certainly won't be the last to try it. At the beginning of the last century, there is evidence that opium was regularly enjoyed and am I right in saying that Queen Victoria regularly smoked cannabis to ease her period pain? What Charles did was a good thing and I have the highest respect for him. Harry is 17, a year off being an adult. He and his brother have been through experiences of life that hopefully many of us will never have to go through. I would have thought that the public would have welcomed someone having a little light-hearted fun.
Alexandra Evans, UK

This is a personal matter and the press should leave them alone. What Prince Charles did in showing the effects of drug use is of limited effectiveness. There will be many more years of experimenting ahead.
Veronika, Fiji

Harry's learned something about self-regulation, temptation, responsibility and personal choices. His father has behaved sensibly and I'm sure this whole incident will make the Royal Family seem more human, as well as make Prince Harry a more mature and effective adult, when he reaches an age where such behaviour is both appropriate and expected.
Rhys Jaggar, England


Drinking heavily and using drugs has been a feature of his family for generations!

Martin, Canada
What a surprise! A member of the Royal Family drinking heavily and using drugs. I would have expected Charles to deal with it reasonably well - that behaviour has been a feature of his family for generations!
Martin, Canada

It appears that royal blood doesn't make you superhuman. There is still unjustified fear regarding the subject of cannabis and I'm sure he did not receive proper information on the subject. It's part of life, even Prince Charles can't change that.
Maurice, Netherlands

I am amazed that the two young princes are both as well-adjusted as they seem. How quickly we forget the hell that these two guys must have gone through as their parents battled it out in the tabloids in a very public divorce - and then to lose their beloved mother at such a young age! Harry will get over this - but remember the life that led him to it!
Bruce Elrick, Scotland

Ordinaries really should mind their own business in the same way that they hate having their lives and tribulations speculated upon from uneducated quarters.
James Fletcher, London, UK

Yes, Charles did handle it well. I should think so, with the money and position he is in. Considering the Royals have the best of everything I would expect the Royals not to get into such difficulties in the first place.
Corcutt, UK


To remain in the Royal Family they should behave impeccably

Andy, UK
If a police officer or judge admitted publicly to using cannabis they would be removed from their position of power or responsibility. I believe it should be no different for a Royal. If they want to remain in the Royal Family they should behave impeccably. Alas it seems to be only the Queen that can manage this.
Andy, UK

If everyone who got drunk under-age and smoked a bit of cannabis became headline news we wouldn't be able to pick up the newspapers. Harry is doing what most teenage boys do. From what I have read in the news, cannabis is not as dangerous as cigarettes and alcohol.
James, UK


If Harry was a normal pupil at Eton, he would have been expelled

Andrew, UK
I back the comment made by Charles Kennedy of the Liberal Democrats. There should be a sensible debate regarding all the drugs laws in the UK. If Harry was not third in line and was a 'normal' pupil at Eton, he would have been expelled. He should be no exception. All the Windsors now need to become a 'normal' British family is to find out that Prince William is gay!
Andrew, UK


Harry should do what he pleases and we should completely ignore him

John Brownlee, England
As someone who is supremely indifferent to the activities and personal lives of the rich and famous I should be pleased beyond measure if no reference were ever again made in any media to the Royal Family, or other persons whose sole contribution to society is to be a celebrity. Hence, I believe young Harry should do what he pleases and we should completely ignore him.
John Brownlee, England

I think Charles behaved responsibly. Marijuana may or may not be a gateway drug but Harry, as a teenager is susceptible to peer pressure. Showing him the realities of drug and alcohol abuse will enable Harry to make informed decisions about his lifestyle and the way he chooses to conduct himself. Harry was drinking under-age and drug-taking within sight of the police in their guise of royal protection officers? Their complicity should not be ignored.
Sophie Hargreaves, US / UK


Perhaps drinking after hours is a no-no, but so is adultery

Christopher
I saw the headline and thought he must have been taking ecstasy or cocaine or something. Then I read the story and it turned out that he had smoked a joint once or twice. Oh, and he once got drunk in a pub, and was told to leave. This caused me to lose a lot of respect for his father. What a hypocrite he is! He gets his kicks from shooting things and chasing foxes, and from expressing his opinions on architecture. Perhaps drinking after hours is a no-no, but so is adultery, and in any case nobody needs to have wings sprouting out of their backs, even if they are a member of the Royal Family. And if the Prince Of Wales wants to keep his son away from bad influences he should get him out of that elitist hell-hole, Eton.
Christopher

It is against the law, and he should be prosecuted especially as he has been doing it several times. How come he got away with it, did he only get a caution?
Jacinta, UK

Yawn, Royals...
Trev, UK


What do we expect? The boy comes from a broken home and lost his mother at a very young age

Martine, London, UK
What do we expect? The boy comes from a broken home and lost his mother at a very young age. Isn't that what we normally say when we hear about a teenager turning to alcohol and drugs under these circumstances?
Martine, London, UK

It's good to see that Prince Harry after his brush with drink and drugs can receive prompt help at a rehab clinic. Meanwhile other ordinary teenagers may have to wait months if not years for the same treatment. In an ever changing world it's sad to see that some things never change.
Brian, England

I'd be more surprised if at 17, Harry had not had a few drinks or smoked a little. What does concern me is that he was reportedly left "home alone" all summer with no parental or quasi-parental eye being kept on him. You may feel and look as if you are grown up at 16/17, but still need back up, support and someone to watch over you.
Claire, Belgium

I found the saddest and most striking aspect of the whole affair was just how little time the 17-year-old Prince Harry seems to have spent with his one remaining parent last summer. In these circumstances it is hardly surprising he should have kicked over the traces. I agree with those of your correspondents who say that this should in principle be a private matter. But the Prime Minister's very public praise for Prince Charles, when it is obvious that he must bear at least some responsibility for his son's anti-social behaviour, was ill-judged and distasteful.
Brendan Donnelly, UK

Definitely a slow news day. Harry smokes pot, Dubya faints on a pretzel.
Laurel Nisler, USA

One minor slip-up and the poor lad has his face splashed across not only the tabloids (which is to be expected), but the broadsheets as well. This is a matter which seems to have been dealt with sensibly by Prince Charles and should have been left alone. As for the drinking in pubs what on earth was the landlord thinking? Anyone who's been awake the last decade should know how old Harry is!
Nikki, UK

I think Prince Charles handled the matter very well. The problem here is that whilst smoking cannabis is not regarded a big deal by some people, as is under-age drinking - both are illegal. Harry is certainly old enough to know right from wrong and hence he has knowingly broken the law and exposed the Royal Family to tons of grief. This absolutely fuels the case for a republic. Why should publicly funded individuals should as Prince Harry be allowed to treat the nation with such contempt?
Robert, UK

"How many teenagers haven't experimented with drink and drugs".... says it all really. This acceptance that "normal" behaviour now revolves around drug taking and getting stoned speaks volumes about the sorry state society has been reduced to. I hope my kids continue to avoid "normal" behaviour and get a high from the really important things in life. As for the drug taking supporters, I'm afraid you're just sheep, a complete and utter irrelevance.
Andy M, England

Am I the only person to think that this story has absolutely no news value whatsoever? "Young boy has pint of beer in pub" and smokes a joint afterwards. Amazing! Why is this in the news?
Tom Amos, UK


Prince Harry should now send out a clear message that drugs are wrong

Andrew, UK
I believe that Prince Charles acted in Prince Harry's best interests by sending him to the rehab unit. This was a very sensible and entirely proper action. But I (and I am sure many other people) wish to know whether the drugs were purchased using money from the civil list? Prince Harry should now send out a clear message that drugs are wrong and should not be used. This may act as a very strong deterrent to other young people.
Andrew, UK

Cannabis is no more dangerous than smoking cigarettes, which are perfectly legal from the age of 16 upwards. It is less addictive than alcohol and evidence has shown it does not lead on to heroin or other harder drugs. I think the reaction of Prince Charles is over the top - why can he not talk to his son like other parents? The media are only reporting it because he's a prince - in fact it's probably the norm! And if Harry is drinking in a pub, why are his police bodyguards not stopping him?
Tim, UK

I think Prince Charles has handled this situation brilliantly - he hasn't over-reacted, but he has made his son see what drugs use can do to you. Harry has committed the crime of behaving as many 17-year-olds do - I fail to see why this story has become such a news item. The Royal family long ago stopped being perceived as our moral guides (if they ever were) so why should this poor 17-year-old have his misdemeanours plastered over the newspapers? Adolescence is hideous enough without the News of the World pointing out all your mistakes.
Clare Gibb, UK

I think the reaction to this incident has shown what the general feelings are towards cannabis. If Prince Harry had tried cigarettes there would not have been this reaction. In response to an earlier comment, all drugs are addictive, whether physically, chemically or psychologically.
Jane, UK

How many 16-year-olds haven't been kicked out of a pub? How many teenagers haven't experimented with drink and drugs? What an over reaction to normal teenage behaviours - sending him to see a rehab centre! Incredible. Good on you Harry. Perhaps the Royal Family wouldn't be in such a sorry state if all the other Royals displayed 'normal' behaviour rather than being permanently appended to a silver spoon.
Andy, London, UK

By sending Harry to a rehab clinic for heroin addicts, I think Prince Charles displayed a high level of ignorance about both soft and hard drugs issues, and a damaging lack of respect towards individuals who really are addicted to heroin. When is somebody in a position of power or authority going to react sensibly to marijuana use?!
Rebecca, UK


Let the boy have his teen hijinks and leave him in peace

Emerson, Canada
Did Charles handle it well ? Increase his pocket money, buy him a bong...
Rik, UK

If the Royals should have no special responsibilities, then why should they have special privileges? If they are not serving a purpose in Britain, why not split up the wealth amongst yourselves? Surely, the fact that Harry isn't going to be prosecuted for what is technically a criminal offence shows a double standard here?
Sean, Canada

This just goes to show that once again the Royals are humans, live in the real world and are not so out of touch as the anti-royalists might think. Charles has done the right thing and no doubt will make more of an impression on Harry than the hash. I doubt that there are many people in today's society that have not tried drugs.
Keith, London, England

A visit to a clinic is one thing, but when he is in a group of people his age again and the joint is being passed around, I'm sure he won't say no.
Paul Ryder, UK

Does it matter? Do you really think that he's going to have the Social Services knocking on his door to take the children into care? Get real. They're Royal: they can do what they like....
Steve G, UK & Germany

Harry is a human being and just as fallible as everyone else. In this case he broke laws which it is generally agreed are unenforceable. Let the boy have his teen hijinks and leave him in peace.
Emerson, Canada/UK

Charles should have had a good talk with his son. As many parents would have done. It would never have been in the papers. Sending him to a unit would have been the last thing I would have done to my sons. Maybe it is a lesson for his son that in this royal situation you are not really free in your actions, unfortunately.
Herman Röben, Netherlands

I wonder if other parents who have had their children expelled from Eton for taking drugs will feel a little aggrieved that Harry is allowed to continue his studies at Eton?
K Ashworth, UK


This is just the down side to mingling with the rest of us

Chris, UK
Why not recognise this as a clever bit of media manipulation? A 'bad news' royal story broke that Harry had used a racial insult and been thrown out of pub. The skilled royal spin-doctors suffocated the bad news with a good news story that Charles behaved like a responsible parent. The good news was deliberately leaked to the News of World. When will have prosecutions of Royals for under-age drinking, use of drugs and allowing Highgrove to be use for dope-smoking ? Or has cannabis already been decriminalised for Royals?
Patrick, Wales

Well done Charles, show him the consequences of his actions. Now perhaps Harry can confront his father about his love of cruelty to animals just for the sheer fun of it namely fox hunting. Cannabis or killing? I know which I prefer.
Bob, UK

No, this is clearly a display of weakness. The problem was not dealt with in a normal way, such as a normal parent would have dealt with this. Instead, he was sent to an institution like a sick cat. How is Harry expected to deal with anything on his own when at the first sign of trouble he is sent for help?
John Riise, Norway

I don't wish to endorse Harry's behaviour, but experimenting with drink and cannabis is part of growing up. On a positive note, I think it is vital for the Royal Family, especially those in line to the throne, to experience what life is like outside the cocoon of the Royal Family. After all, if the Monarchy is to continue, it had better modernise and understand it's subjects.
Andy Devs, UK

It doesn't surprise me one bit. Harry has been left out of the limelight for most of his life. William has been pushed up front because of his role in the monarchy. But think back... Princess Margaret was pushed out of the limelight when Elizabeth's role in the monarchy became clear, and look what happened to Margaret. Give Harry the love and attention he needs as a growing lad. Don't let the public feel that he doesn't exist. He does.
Joan, Canada

I hope Prince Charles will be sending him to an AA meeting - because alcohol is far more dangerous than cannabis and should be a more serious cause for concern.
Rob, UK

I am a monarchist. Certain members of the Royal Family are letting us down when they should known better and playing into the hands of their detractors. Prince Harry doesn't need a drug rehab unit, he needs a damn good hiding!
Percy Bradshaw, UK

We always attack our Royals for being out of touch and not mingling with the subjects. Charles (like his late wife) has done his best to bring his kids up in a open society where the can go to fast food chains and amusement parks. This is just the down side to mingling with the rest of us. No one should face criticism.
Chris, Britain

Once again, the Royal Family are pandering to the opinions of tabloid Middle England, sensationalising the issue and therefore losing all sense of its point! Admittedly, the Royal Family must be seen to project some kind of Utopian family image for all us gutter-scum to follow, but, a rehab clinic for heroin addicts?! Come on! He is not the first person to take recreational drugs, nor the first to drink under-age... by going to far overboard with the issue by sending him to a rehab clinic for genuinely ill people, the Royal Family are once again showing how out of touch they are!
Russell Hope, England


The only thing that disturbs me in all this is the report that Prince Charles learned of the incidents from a servant

S. Vardi, Israel

The only thing that disturbs me in all this is the report that Prince Charles learned of the incidents from a servant. I'd like to think that if my son smokes pot, I'll be the one to notice it.
S Vardi, Israel

Poor Harry, it will mean the sniggers every time somebody calls him "Your Royal Highness" from now on. But taking the kid to a rehabilitation clinic for hard drug abusers because he smoked the odd joint? Unbelievable. It's Prince Charles who needs a talking to, not Prince Harry.
John Yates, Finland

I say install him as king now. It's about time the monarchy got a little interesting and more like the people they're supposed to represent. I'd prefer my taxes go on pot for Harry than hats for the Queen Mum.
Will Jennings, England


If more parents reacted the way Prince Charles did then perhaps there would be fewer screwed-up young people

Tammy, USA
Without wanting to sound like the stereotypical Dutchman: isn't smoking pot and drinking part of growing up?!
Bastiaan Kniphorst, Netherlands

I think Prince Charles did do well. But more importantly, we should never have found out about it. Harry is a 17-year-old child and hasn't yet taken up Royal duties. At least let them have a childhood before we start hounding them.
Luke Magee, UK

I cannot believe the fuss made over this very minor mishap. It just shows that he is a real human like the rest of us mortals. What is not cricket is way the press have dealt with this issue.
Gavin O'Neill, UK

Smoking a little marijuana is one thing. Yes, it's illegal but then so is under-age drinking. What is the landlord of that pub doing allowing the Prince to drink heavily at 16 or 17 years old in the first place? It's not as if the third in line to the English throne can lie about his age, is it? If you're going to make a fuss about one offence then why not the other?
Kevin, UK/USA

I am happy to see royalty displaying normal human behaviour. We are all using some kind of drug. Our life needs addictive content. Some people get a kick from buying things. Others get high on TV shows. Others use drugs! There are worse things being done legally.
Nico, Germany

Prince Charles handled the situation in the smartest way possible. Regardless of people dismissing pot as harmless it is still illegal in many countries and alcohol, while perfectly legal, has a nasty way of addicting people. If more parents reacted the way Prince Charles did then perhaps there would be fewer screwed-up young people.
Tammy, USA

I can't believe the fuss that has been made. Smoking marijuana has similar dangers to ordinary smoking and in my experience doesn't lead straight on to hard drugs (which many people seem to think). You'd have thought Harry was some sort of heroin addict by the way he was sent to a rehab clinic.
Adrian, UK


It is a personal matter which is of no concern to the general public whatsoever

Kaye, Canada
Yes, Prince Charles did the right thing but why is the press taking such an interest in this? It is a personal matter which is of no concern to the general public whatsoever. Prince Harry is a teenager. Need I say more? Teenagers, like two-year-olds, are a pain in the neck but they grow out of it and turn out to be responsible adults. After all, we all did!!!
Kaye, Canada

Er, hello Kaye: He is third in line to the throne and marijuana was illegal the last time I looked. He has certain responsibilities to fulfil and he should be prosecuted. I use pot a lot but, my friends, the law is the law.
Ed Wickes, UK

Yes, Prince Charles should be commended for his actions. Prince Harry's visit to the rehabilitation centre has obviously had a positive effect on him. I think that Ed Wickes is being vindictive in calling for Prince Harry to be prosecuted - will he agree to surrender himself to police custody every time he smokes a joint, since by his own admission he uses pot? I would hope that Prince Harry has now learned his lesson and would dissuade anyone else from following this course of action.
Peter, England


It's about time the Royals let their hair down and started acting like everybody else

Pete, London, UK
Ed Wickes: Why should Harry have certain responsibilities? It's about time the Royals let their hair down and started acting like everybody else. Well done Harry. That said, the News of the World is perfectly correct to take the high moral ground as I'm sure that none of their hacks has ever dabbled with any illicit substances.
Pete, London, UK

I think that it is great news that Prince Harry has smoked some dope. What does concern me is that the press are going crazy over a story of a kid, who comes from a broken home, lost his mother and cannot lead a normal life. He even gets hounded for doing something as trivial as smoking a few spliffs. I mean come on, this government is about to relax the laws on cannabis because it is not a problem substance. If anything the press should be talking about the dangers of drinking so heavily at his age.
Gerald, UK

Is cannabis necessarily dangerous? Surely not compared with alcohol, which causes many injuries and deaths each year. Shouldn't we be more concerned that Prince Harry has been drinking heavily while under age, presumably with the collusion of one or more local publicans?
Peter, UK

Cannabis isn't a physically addictive drug and it is not really that strong. Harry could have quite easily stopped but I think Charles wanted to teach him a lesson for his own peace of mind. But it does bring up a new debate. If the third in line for the throne can smoke cannabis and it didn't lead him onto hard drugs why can't the rest of us mere mortals do it?
Rahul, UK

I just want to know if we are allowed to call him Harry Potter from now on?
Ianthe, South Africa


Talking PointFORUM
Drug culture
Your questions on teens and drugs answered
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Talking Point stories