Prince William arrives in Falklands

 

The Duke of Cambridge has arrived in the Falklands amid simmering tensions between Britain and Argentina over the disputed islands.

His arrival, ahead of a tour of duty as an RAF search and rescue pilot, comes as the Royal Navy prepares to send one of its most advanced new warships to the area.

It has already sparked controversy in Argentina which claims the prince will be wearing the uniform of a "conqueror" when he deploys.

The Ministry of Defence said William's six-week posting to the remote outcrop, which Buenos Aires calls Las Malvinas, was part of a "a routine operational deployment".

The Duke - who has flown to the archipelago as part of a crew of four RAF personnel - will attend a series of briefings and take part in a "familiarisation flight" before he begins his search and rescue work.

A Ministry of Defence (MOD) spokesman said: "MOD can confirm Flight Lieutenant Wales, as part of a four-man Search and Rescue (SAR) crew, has arrived in the Falkland Islands on a routine operational deployment and will shortly take up SAR duties post a period of briefings and a familiarisation flight."

The Duchess, who will not be joining her husband abroad, will have the latest addition to their family - a male cocker spaniel puppy - for company while he is away.

The Duke's deployment in the Falklands comes amid a diplomatic war of words between the British and Argentine Governments.

It follows an announcement that HMS Dauntless, an ultra-modern Type 45 destroyer, is due to set sail for the South Atlantic on her maiden mission in the coming months.

She is expected to replace frigate HMS Montrose in the region.

The Royal Navy has rejected suggestions the decision to send the destroyer to the area was a riposte to increased tensions over the sovereignty of the Falklands and said the ship's deployment was long planned.

William's posting has been similarly defended by the MoD as part of a "normal" squadron rotation.

But it has been branded a "provocative act" by Argentina.

In the latest salvo, the country's Foreign Ministry said it "rejected the British attempt to militarise (the) conflict" and expressed regret that an heir to the throne would arrive wearing "the uniform of a conqueror".

David Cameron and Argentine president Cristina Fernandez have previously accused each other of "colonial" behaviour, while Argentine official Sebastian Brugo Marco last year said the country could not ignore the "political" implications of William's deployment.

General Sir David Richards, the Chief of the Defence Staff, dismissed the claims, saying: "I can absolutely tell you it wasn't and isn't designed to be."

William, who has worked as a Sea King pilot while based at his north Wales home on Anglesey, is following in the footsteps of his younger brother, Prince Harry, who was sent to Afghanistan as a forward air controller in 2008.

The Argentinean government today claimed William's deployment was a distraction from Britain's "internal problems".

Vice-president Amado Boudou told the country's La Red radio station that the move was a case of "bravado" to mask high unemployment and the prospect of Scottish independence.

His words follow reports that Buenos Aires is putting pressure on a Chilean airline to stop weekly flights to the Falklands which pass through Argentine airspace.

David Cameron's official spokesman said such "threats" were "not new," adding: "Clearly, we hope that that flight will not be cut, but there are also RAF services from London to the Falklands and these will continue."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable