Suffolk airbase honour for Prince Harry

PRINCE Harry is to become the Honorary Air Commandant at a Suffolk airbase as part of moves to honour links between the royal family and the RAF.

Laurence Cawley

PRINCE Harry is to become the Honorary Air Commandant at a Suffolk airbase as part of moves to honour links between the royal family and the RAF.

Prince Harry's appointment to RAF Honington was one of a number of honorary titles approved today by The Queen to mark her family's links with the RAF.

The 24-year-old prince, who is third in line to the throne, was made Honorary Air Commandant at the base, near Bury St Edmunds.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “The Queen has been pleased to approve new Royal Air Force honorary appointments in recognition of the strong links between the Royal Air Force and the Royal Family.”

The news was welcomed by community leaders who said the base deserved the honour and recognition given its numerous tours of duty in the Middle East.

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Rebecca Hopfensperger, county councillor for the base, said: “It is really good news. The base really deserves it - they've been involved in active duty on a number of occasions recently and they have lost people.

“They deserve some kind of honour and this is really good news, both for the base and for the county as a whole.”

The prince has made previous visits to Suffolk - including an impromptu visit to the Little Chef restaurant at Barton Mills.

His stop-off at the eaterie happened in March last year.

Having taken part in training at the nearby Stanta battleground, near Thetford, he walked into the Little Chef dressed in combat fatigues.

Accompanied by a bodyguard and two fellow soldiers Prince Harry, a Lieutenant in his brother's former regiment the Household Cavalry's Blues and Royals, sat down to eat Little Chef's “Olympic Breakfast” comprising two rashers of bacon, a sausage, two eggs, mushrooms, sauté potatoes, tomato, baked beans and toast.

Staff and fellow customers were left stunned by the prince's visit.

Last month it emerged Prince Harry's older brother Prince William could one day be stationed in Suffolk when he becomes a fully-fledged RAF Search and Rescue Force helicopter pilot next year.

The 26-year-old prince, who was yesterday made Honorary Air Commandant for RAF Coningsby near Lincoln, was awarded his RAF wings in April and became the fourth successive generation of the monarchy to become an air force pilot.

The princes' father, the Prince of Wales, and grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, both learned how to master a number of aircraft and have been awarded their RAF wings.

They were following in the footsteps of William and Harry's great-grandfather Prince Albert, later King George VI, who became the first royal to serve in the RAF, between 1918 and 1919, becoming a qualified pilot in the process.

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