WASHINGTON (TIP) Prince Harry, in the dress uniform of his British army regiment, paid tribute Friday to US soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan on day two of a US tour dedicated in good part to war veterans. With white-gloved hands behind his back, he strolled alone through rows of white headstones in a section of the sun-kissed Arlington National Cemetery reserved for those who died in America’s most recent wars.
He wore the dark blue uniform of the Blues and Royals cavalry regiment, which he joined in 2006, together with a powder blue beret representing his role as an Apache attack helicopter pilot in the British army’s air wing.
On a floral arrangement, the 28-year-old captain — who has twice deployed in Afghanistan — left a signed handwritten note: “To my comrades-in-arms of the United States of America, who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of freedom,” it said. Harry also laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington, watched by a youthful crowd of T-shirted tourists kept at a distance behind a metal barricade, and paused at the grave of president John F Kennedy, assassinated 50 years ago this November.
Later in the day, he crossed town to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to mingle with US soldiers undergoing physical therapy and get a private briefing on the latest breakthroughs in prosthetics. On the weekend, Harry will be in Colorado for the Warrior Games, where 200- plus wounded servicemen and women will compete in such sports as archery, cycling, swimming, track and field, and wheelchair basketball. Harry, who last visited Washington a year ago, is on his best behavior after cellphone naked photos of him partying in a Las Vegas hotel suite spilled onto the Internet last August.
Like his father Prince Charles and older brother Prince William, he is assuming a bigger share of royal duties on behalf of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, who turned 87 last month.