CANBERRA, (Australia) — Prince Harry has arrived in Australia for a four-week placement with the Australian Defence Force.
He laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier in Canberra before officially reporting for duty.
He also presented a letter from the Queen in which she wrote that her grandson would “benefit greatly” from spending time with Australian troops.
The prince, called Captain Wales in his military role, will leave the British army in June after 10 years’ service.
During his placement in Australia, he will patrol with Aboriginal soldiers and train with the country’s special forces.
He officially reported for duty to Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, Chief of the Defence Force, after laying his wreath and placing a poppy during a tour of the Australian War Memorial.
About 1,000 young and old members the public gathered over hours in cool and drizzling weather in Canberra outside the Australian War Memorial where Harry laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Among the well-wishers gathered to meet the prince was ginger-haired Ethan Toscan with a sign he made reading ‘Red heads RULE!’
The 30-year-old veteran of two tours in Afghanistan reports for duty later Monday to Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, who is Australia’s Defense Force Chief.
Captain Harry Wales, as he is known in the British army, will be embedded with a number of Australian army units and regiments in the cities of Sydney, Darwin and Perth.
He and his father Prince Charles will also attend centenary commemorations on April 25 in Turkey of the ill-fated invasion of Gallipoli peninsula during World War I in which Commonwealth forces under British command, including a joint Australian and New Zealand army, suffered heavy casualties.
Defense officials will not say where he will be posted first, hoping to spare the media-shy royal some public spotlight.
Harry, an Apache helicopter pilot, will be attached to an aviation squadron in the east coast city of Sydney and work with the elite Special Air Service Regiment, including Afghanistan veterans, in the west coast city of Perth. He will have to pass Australian certification testing before he is allowed to pilot any Australian aircraft.
In the northern city of Darwin, which will become a training hub for 1,050 U.S. Marinesin the coming weeks, Harry will work with a predominantly Aboriginal infantry regiment, the North-West Mobile Force, better known as NORFORCE.
NORFORCE patrols vast tracts of Australia’s sparsely populated northern tropical wilderness covering 1.8 million square kilometers (695,000 square miles). They use traditional indigenous skills including tracking in their surveillance work.
Harry’s third visit to Australia will be the last deployment of his decade-old military career that ends in June.
He spent three months working on an Outback cattle ranch as a jackaroo — an apprentice cowboy — during a gap year in 2003 after he graduated from Eton College. He returned to Sydney in 2013 to officiate at the International Fleet Review.
He will visit New Zealand when he leaves Australia about May 9.