Prince William flies in to diplomatic storm in Falklands

 

The Duke of Cambridge arrived in the Falkland Islands last night as he embarked on a six-week posting with the RAF, further inflaming already-testy diplomatic relations between the UK and Argentina, writes Rob Hastings.

Prince William, who will serve as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot, has been branded a "conquistador" by the Argentinian government.

There were demonstrations in Buenos Aires to the visit, above, and Argentinia's government is reportedly considering an economic blockade of the islands, which it calls Las Islas Malvinas, by stopping the only weekly flight from South America to Port Stanley. Coming two months before the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, which saw the South Atlantic islands re-established as British territory after the surrender of occupying Argentinian forces in 1982, Argentina claims the arrival of the heir to the throne is a "provocative" gesture. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also said that it "rejected the British attempt to militarise [the] conflict".

The Ministry of Defence insists Prince William's arrival was part of a "routine operational deployment" but its coincidence with the deployment of the Royal Navy's most advanced air-defence warships – the Type 45 destroyer HMS Dauntless – has riled President Cristina Kirchner.

* Philip Hensher: My solution to the Falklands problem: sell them

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