Prince honours fallen troops 076

By Lauren Crooks

Prince Harry marched through Edinburgh to attend a church service in memory of his hero comrades killed in Afghanistan.

The Prince joined 200 servicemen and women during the memorial parade as it was announced that four more troops – including the first woman – had been killed in the war-torn country, taking the death toll to 106.

The Household Cavalry officer joined his troops on Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile ahead of a service at the city’s St Giles’ Cathedral.

Crowds of tourists and onlookers applauded as the 23-year-old Royal – who spent 10 weeks fighting Taliban terrorists – made his way to the church service where soldiers were joined by bereaved families and UK Defence Secretary Des Browne.

The event was held to pay tribute to the 24 British, Danish, American and Czech soldiers who lost their lives during the deployment of the 52 Infantry Brigade in Helmand Province from October to April.

Harry joined 200 soldiers, sailors and airmen led by a pipe band as is weaved its way through the city centre before joining another 400 members of the armed forces gathered outside the cathedral.

And joining them were the families of 10 of the 11 British personnel who lost their lives during the tour.

Harry’s involvement was kept secret by the UK media but he was removed after ten weeks when news of his deployment was leaked on a US website.

Respectful Harry smiled momentarily at the crowds before setting off on the parade.

And he even defied his royal rebel nametag the night before – by staying sober on a boozy night out with friends.

The Prince sipped on nothing but soft drinks as his friends downed 10 bottles of wine and guzzled cocktails at the city’s exclusive Rick’s bar.

Harry and ten of his closest pals laughed and joked as they ran up a £400 bar tab at the trendy bar.
But when the clock struck midnight, the Prince was ushered out by his burly bodyguards.
And while Harry has become famous for his party hard image, he showed the utmost respect to the fallen heroes in the hours running up to the march.

Murray Ward, general manager at Rick’s, said: “We were absolutely delighted to host Prince Harry and his friends at Rick’s. Our sister club Opal Lounge is a bit more used to royalty with both William and Harry partying there when William was in Scotland studying.

“Harry wasn’t drinking, he was obviously being sensible about the parade he was involved in.

“The group was very chatty and informal and they all seemed to be having a good time.

“To anyone who didn’t know they would have seemed like an ordinary group for dinner and there was nothing hush-hush about their visit.

“It was an absolute pleasure to serve the Prince and his friends.”

The group arrived at the plush Frederick Street bar and hotel just before 8pm on Tuesday and sat down to a two-course meal.

Locals drinking at the bar hardly even noticed the down-to-earth prince – dressed in a casual pair of jeans, white shirt and brown gilet – as he sat catching up with his friends.

But as the group got tucked into bottles of £18.95 bottles of Firefly Shiraz, Harry stuck to soft drinks and ordered himself three Cokes throughout the night.

Polite Harry even got up after the meal to thank bar staff for looking after his group throughout their four-hour stay.

And despite being flanked by five bodyguards, the visit was informal and Harry moved around the restaurant himself – including two toilet visits.

One onlooker said: “Harry left with only his bodyguards for company. The rest of the group were still in Rick’s. It was a very military operation – his bodyguards got him out of the bar and into the car before you could blink.”