Prince makes surprise visit to USAF base

HE may be third in line to the throne, but a camouflage clad Prince Harry flew under the radar on an impromptu visit to a Suffolk airbase.The 22-year-old soldier prince was with two comrades and his body guard when he was seen perusing the goods on offer in a store at RAF Lakenheath on Sunday.

HE may be third in line to the throne, but a camouflage clad Prince Harry flew under the radar on an impromptu visit to a Suffolk airbase.

The 22-year-old soldier prince was with two comrades and his body guard when he was seen perusing the goods on offer in a store at RAF Lakenheath on Sunday.

Managers reported that the surprise visit created quite a buzz - but the cashier serving the royal party failed to recognise the prince, who was dressed in his fatigues and said to be engaged in banter with his colleagues.

She then refused to sell an Mp3 player to one of Harry's fellow British soldiers - explaining that the tax free shop was for USAF and army personnel except in special circumstances.


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But Lt Col David Konop, a spokesman for the army shop chain, said: “I'm a little surprised he wasn't recognised but I am not sure I would recognise him in uniform.

“But had we known it was him we would have bent over backwards to help him. I would like to apologise - he came into our shop unannounced.

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“I know the staff were surprised when they realised who had just been in the shop.

“We are enamoured by the presence of royalty and although we weren't aware of it at the time it was nice he was there at all.”

Lt Col Konop added: “We're just really proud and pleased that Prince Harry chose to step on to our base and in the store.

“As you can imagine, the visit has created a lot of interest on the base as most Americans are fascinated with the British royal family.”

The shopping faux pas will probably be welcome news for the prince, who has expressed the hope of being accepted as a regular soldier with no special treatment due to his royal status.

Travelling incognito - without his name tags - Harry is also reported to have had a pizza on the Suffolk base which has been nicknamed a “mini America”.

His commanders have declined to reveal the purpose of his visit to Lakenheath but Prince Harry, known as Lt Cornet Wales, is due to deploy to Iraq in the summer and earlier this week was training at the Stanta Battle Area at nearby Thetford as part of his preparation.

The Prince is expected to command four Scimitar reconnaissance vehicles from the Household Cavalry Regiment.

A Clarence House spokeswoman said she was not able to comment on the prince's visit to the USAF base.

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