Prince Charles dons full combat gear to visit British troops on the frontline

Prince Charles has shown that he may make a great King one day by donning full combat gear and visiting British soldiers in Afghanistan.

He could have just visited several commanders at the British base Camp Bastion, or even just sent the lads and lassies a video message through the internet from the safety of London.

But no. Charles decided that he would visit the troops on the frontline.

The future King Charles III or George VII, whose soldier son spent ten week serving in Afghanistan with the Household Cavalry in 2008 (but would have spent longer had an American website not told the world, and possibly the Taliban, that he was there) has been wanting to make the trip since the conflict began to express his admiration and thanks to soldiers for their 'incredible efforts'.

During his visit Charles took a trip over Helmand aboard a Chinook and received a briefing on the roadside bombs that have claimed so many British lives. The prince seemed genuinely upset.

Hailing the troops fighting in Afghanistan, he said: 'Their mettle has been tested to the full and, as always, they have not been found wanting."

He also laid a wreath paying tribute to dead soldiers and was given a chance to try out British troops' mine clearance equipment.

British soldiers usually value the visit of a Royal more than a visit of a politician (unlike in a republic, British troops swear allegiance to their country and their monarch rather than to a politician).

There have been fears that Charles may not turn out to be as good a monarch as his popular mother, Elizabeth II. But this visit would do his reputation - and that of the monarchy - a world of good.

Prince Charles follows Harry's footsteps to Afghanistan and visits British troops in secret trip to frontline

By Mail Foreign Service
26th March 2010
Daily Mail

It was an experience his youngest son has already been through.

But yesterday the Prince of Wales was able to witness for himself the badlands of Afghanistan.

Pictures of Charles donning full combat gear while inspecting a machine gun at a British camp bore a striking resemblance to those taken of Prince Harry in similar poses two years earlier.

The key difference was that for Harry it was all for real.

Tour: Charles walks through British military Camp Pimon in Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province

Pleased: Charles shares a joke with a British soldier at Camp Pimon - he has wanted to visit Afghanistan for some time

Charles was paying an unprecedented and surprise fact-finding visit to the UK's frontline troops.

It is a trip the prince, the Commander in Chief of ten regiments, had wanted to make since the conflict began to see first hand the situation and to express his admiration and thanks to soldiers for their 'incredible efforts'.

The trip was made more poignant by the fact he was following in the footsteps of Harry, who spent ten weeks in Afghanistan serving with the Household Cavalry in 2008.

Charles admitted he knew from the time Harry spent there the anxieties faced by those with loved ones risking their lives.

'For the families, I know when my youngest son was out here, as a parent you worry the whole time,' he said. 'If you're out here, perhaps you're getting on with everything so it's not the same. But for everybody left behind it's ghastly.'

Action man: The Prince tries out a metal detector at Camp Shorabak (left) and is presented with freshly made bread by a Guardsman

Visit: Prince Charles looks through the window of a British military helicopter en route to Lashkar Gah, in Afghanistan

During his visit Charles took a trip over Helmand aboard a Chinook and received a briefing on the roadside bombs that have claimed so many British lives.

Hailing the troops fighting in Afghanistan, he said: 'Their mettle has been tested to the full and, as always, they have not been found wanting.

Looking the part: The prince in full combat gear

'With our forces fighting far from home - out of sight and, I fear, too often out of mind - sometimes it is not until they return home in flag-draped coffins that we become truly aware of all that we are asking of them.'

During the two-day tour, the Prince, who wore an armoured jacket with goggles and helmet, visited bases in Nad-e-Ali, where much of the UK's effort was based during Operation Moshtarak, and Lashkar Gah.

After being told of the progress troops were making, Charles left a wreath paying tribute to dead soldiers at Camp Bastion. He was also given a chance to try out British troops' mine clearance equipment.

A Clarence House spokesman said: 'The Prince of Wales has wanted to go to Afghanistan for several years and was very keen to see for himself the Armed Forces and allied members.

'He was also keen to see civilian involvement in regeneration projects and to thank them for their incredible efforts.'

During a briefing from troops, Brigadier James Cowan, Commander of Task Force Helmand Black Watch, told Charles the troops were winning the trust of locals.

He said: 'We have greatly reduced the use of lethal force through courageous restraint which requires our soldiers to be much more courageous, to put themselves in harm's way.

'As a result, we see many people coming over to our side and starting to trust us.'

Charles met several Afghanistan government ministers as well as tribal and religious leaders to 'gain their perspective on reintroducing stability', the Clarence House spokesman added.

He spoke to President Hamid Karzai before flying in but they were unable to meet during the visit.

His spokesman added: 'The Prince was very pleased to have finally been able to make the visit.'

After visiting Kabul, Charles flew by helicopter to Patrol Base Pimon, in Nad-e-Ali, where he was met by Officer Commanding Right Flank Scots Guards, Major Ian Lindsay-German.

Maj Lindsay-German told Charles: 'We have seen a very, very steep drop in violence to the point where we are getting some signs of Taliban who want to come in.'

The Prince later attended a brief memorial at Camp Bastion, where he laid a wreath of paper poppies and white carnations in honour of the fallen.

Charles, left, talks with Guardsman Paul Jackson, at Patrol Base Pimon, Afghanistan

Escort: Prince Charles, right, walks from his helicopter at Patrol Base Pimon where he was visiting soldiers of The Scots Guards

Charles also met General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of US and Nato troops, and Afghan District Governor Gulab Mangal.

He flew into the Afghan National Army brigade camp of Shorabak in an RAF Chinook, close to Camp Bastion, where he was greeted by an Afghan guard of honour before speaking with Afghan troops and their British mentors from 2nd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment.

The Afghan and British soldiers gave a demonstration of instructional and training techniques, including identification of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

He later flew to Camp Bastion where he spoke with staff from the UK Joint Force Medical Group, and the Joint Force EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) teams.

Precedent: Charles's son Harry spent ten weeks serving with the army in Afghanistan in 2008

Prince Charles's younger son Harry served with the army in Afghanistan's Helmand province in 2008.

His deployment was kept secret over fears that the Taliban would deliberately target him if they knew of his presence in the country.

The third in line to the throne spent ten weeks working as a forward air controller.

But he was pulled out after news of his posting was leaked on American website Drudge Report.

Charles previously spoke of the "difficulties" he faced as Harry, serving with the Household Cavalry Regiment, spent 10 weeks in Afghanistan before being flown home in February 2008 amid fears for his safety after the deployment was reported in foreign media.

A total of 276 British troops have died in the Afghan conflict since operations began in 2001.


I am absolutely delighted that Prince Charles has finally visited the troops in Afghanistan!!!

It would have been a terrific moral booster for everybody there!!!

He certainly will have gained some respect with those who continually knock the royal family!!!

Thank you Prince Charles for doing this!!!
- Vaj, Somewhere in the mountains

The best value for money this country has ever had.

All the whingers get lost. What would you have? A Republic with BLIAR at the helm, or Gordo and his thieves ? We already have a socially engineered society that is well past its sell by date. The Royals provide the ray of hope that one day this country might be great again. A country without hope is a dire place indeed.
- Separabit, Merseyside

John of Belgium & Kathryn of Miami are evidently unaware that not a single Belgian soldier has been killed during the past 7 years of Belgians "fighting" in Afghanistan, although their Prime Minister, Hermann van Rompuy, is now Unelected President of the EU. Meanwhile, our boys are being killed & maimed every day.

So don't be saying anything against HRH Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Prince William, Prince Andrew, or Prince Edward, all of whom have served their country bravely, along with many other royals, and in contrast to very many politicians. Even HRH The Queen was an ambulance driver during WWII, and the whole family stood steadfast with the people of London during the Blitz, even though the Palace was bombed.

Look there at Prince Charles' kind and thoughtful face in the photo: you can see the features of his father, his mother, and his sons. He would make a great Prime Minister, too, because he actually cares about the British people, and about our British troops.
- Nellie,

I would like to wager that all the people who have made negative comments about the visit of Prince Charles to the region have never been in the Forces or the only conflict they have had to deal with is when they want the TV remote.

You can bet your bottom dollar, the guys and gals out there really did appreciate Prince Charle's visit and hold him in great esteem. They may have been sweeping, painting and bulling every thing in sight, but there moral would have been at an high.

I know they would rather have a visit from a Royal than any limp writed MP. Who's more worried about what people think back home.

I hope the Prince enjoyed the time he spent out there and can share a few memories with Prince Harry.

God blees you Sir...
- Dave Boulter, Leicester UK

It is easy to see who the anti-royalists are here. Just look for the red arrows!!

Looking at the photos of Prince Charles out there, he certainly appears to be better received than Gordy McBrun.
But then, Gordy dressed up in bullet-proof kit over his suit, obviously determined NOT to get anywhere where there MIGHT be a bullet or two flying around. There is hardly a politician who would be willing to go within miles of a front line for fear of having to change his trousers pretty quickly.
As to fact finding, what is the betting that Charles got to know much more about the troops, their morale, and their points of view regarding equipment and such, than any politician would, and knowing Prince Charles penchant for speaking his mind, no doubt there will be quite a few pertinent questions put to certain members of the government.
Well done Sir, and more power to your elbow.
- Bwj, Uk

The naysayers forget one important thing, all military swear an oath of allegiance to the Crown - not to Parliament.

The Queen cannot go to Afghanistan, she's far too old now to make that sort of journey, although she would if she could.

It is not a "colossal waste of taxpayers money" for the heir to the throne to visit the troops, it will have been a factfinding visit as well as a morale booster, and he'll have been far more welcome than any politician, especially one who cuts military funding and then lies about it.
- Elle, UK,

Excellent news.
Just how many times have our political leaders been to the front and really engaged the soldiers? How can the anti-royalists object to these brave princes (and princesses) who really do stand by their men. Can you see a 'President Blair '' going to the front and sitting down with the troops able to speak their language?

I am sure that this visit is worth more than a 100 show visits from Blair and Brown. They are only interested in themselves and the photo opportunities. The Princes are there for the men. Well done you Royals....
- Elton, Murcia, Spain
Last edited by Blackleaf; Mar 28th, 2010 at 12:24 PM..
L Gilbert
"Charles decided that he would visit the troops on the frontline."
And no Talibans around to gave him pierced ears? Funny.
no new posts