Prince Harry: 'Take a life to save a life. That’s what we revolve around, I suppose'
Although it is widely known that Prince Harry has been on active service in Afghanistan, for many it has nevertheless been hard to imagine the Prince actually killing people - until now
Tuesday 22 January 2013
Showing an armed Prince Harry scrambling into action, preparing his weapons and relaxing in the mess, the stockpile of images released tonight of Prince Harry at work and play in his desert airbase seem to tick all the boxes for classic war propaganda photography. But in the fading battle for hearts and minds, as the British withdrawal from Afghanistan scheduled for next year ticks steadily closer, some may question what purpose these pictures fulfil – and what added dangers they create.
Despite the belated revelation of his frontline duties in 2008 – by a media that had secretly signed up for a collective self-censorship deal, apparently in order to protect the Prince and his colleagues, until the story leaked in the US – information on Prince Harry’s activities has still been relatively limited. Though the press has been fed occasional stories of him “genuinely risking his life” by destroying Taliban targets in “multiple engagements”, or firing a “100lb Hellfire missile,” little of any detail has been published. These pictures will be seen as a pay-off for the press following that discipline.
Although it is widely known that the third-in-line to the throne has been on active service in Afghanistan, for many it has nevertheless been hard to imagine the Prince actually killing people - until now. Whether he’s running into action with a pistol, checking the cannon hanging below his Apache helicopter, or sitting in the cockpit alongside his semi-automatic rifle, Harry is never far from a gun if these pictures are to be believed.
Two weeks ago the former Afghan prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, founder and leader of the Hizb-i-Islamia Party in Afghanistan, said of Harry: "He wants to hunt down Mujahideen with his helicopter's rockets, without any shame.”
There is no hint the young Prince is reckless or bloodthirsty behind his sunglasses, and there is certainly no evidence that Harry kills “innocent Afghans while he is drunk,” as Mr Hekmatyar also alleged. But throw in one of Harry’s more dramatic quotes, and these images - carefully selected by the Ministry of Defence – may begin to look almost as inflammatory and provocative in their own way as the Afghan politician’s words. “Take a life to save a life. That’s what we revolve around, I suppose,” said the Prince. “If there’s people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we’ll take them out of the game, I suppose.”
There is a softer side depicted here, as Harry sits back with his comrades in a tent adorned with a union flag. But some will ask what impact will those have in Kabul when placed alongside the pictures of him readying his gunship for its next mission. For many critics in Britain, meanwhile, they will undoubtedly make the reasoning and justification of the previous media blackout seem still more questionable and hypocritical.
The co-operation granted to the Prince appears to have done little to endear him to the media, however. In the official interview accompanying the photographs, he was frank in discussing his dislike of newspapers. "Of course I read them,” he said. “If there's a story and something's been written about me, I want to know what's being said. But all it does is just upset me and anger me that people can get away with writing the stuff they do. Not just about me, but about everything and everybody. My father always says, 'Don't read it'. Everyone says, 'Don't read it, because it's always rubbish'.”
Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent
"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery rumours: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...