Leading article: The soldier's life

What are we coming to? The British media have conspired to censor themselves; the Royal Family has secured a publicity coup; the Ministry of Defence has pulled off a public relations stunt that is a recruiting campaign for the armed forces – and this newspaper goes along with it all. Yes, the story of Prince Harry's 10-week tour of duty in Afghanistan is a curious one.

But it is hard to find fault with the reasoning behind the media blackout in this country. The armed services took the decision last year that Harry could not serve in Iraq because he would present a trophy target. Yet he wanted to fight, so he could do so only on condition of secrecy. The prince's determination to serve his country in the same way as other soldiers is admirable. And if it forces us to ask again about the human cost of defending the infant Afghan democracy against the Taliban, so much the better.

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