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Prince Harry is to face a “dressing down” by his commanding officer and is expected to be asked to donate his wages to charity after being pictured naked in Las Vegas, senior military sources have disclosed.The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that Gen Sir David Richards, the Chief of the Defence Staff, has been involved in deciding how to deal with the embarrassment of the Army’s highest-profile officer cavorting with a naked girl during a game of “strip billiards”.
He has made clear that the head of the Army, Gen Sir Peter Wall, must decide what action should be taken over the Prince’s conduct.
Both men are understood to have been informed of the pictures while on holiday.
Senior sources said that Gen Wall will follow military protocol that dictates that he writes to the commanding officer of the regiment where the Prince is serving.
Senior sources said that in the letter, Gen Wall is expected to request that the Prince, as a holder of the Queen’s Commission, should be reminded of his responsibilities.
Gen Wall is known as a tough disciplinarian.
While there are those within the Army who believe that behaviour off-duty is private, Gen Wall is not among them.
The task of admonishing the third in line to the throne will fall to Lt Col Tom de La Rue, the commanding officer of 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, the unit in which the Prince, 27, is serving. An Apache helicopter pilot, he is known in the Army as Capt Harry Wales.
It is understood that the Prince will be called in to a formal interview with Lt Col de la Rue, when he returns
to his base at Wattisham, Suffolk, after his summer leave.
Another senior military source said that he would give the Prince a “fair hearing”, but added that he would be “encouraged” to make a donation of two weeks’ salary to a charity of his choice “by means of reparation” – an amount that will be around £1,450.
A source said: “It will not be a friendly interview – a bit like the headmaster telling off someone in the lower sixth.
“There won’t be any shouting and ranting, but Harry will be reminded that he has overstepped the mark. It doesn’t matter that the incident took place on leave, behind closed doors.
“It would be the same for any officer.
“Harry will be reminded that he is the holder of the Queen’s Commission and with that comes a certain responsibility, which also extends into private life. Officers are expected to set a certain standard, and under Queen’s Regulations, they can be disciplined for behaviour which brings discredit on the Army. Some may see Harry’s behaviour as letting off a bit of steam – others in the Army will not.”
Lt Col de la Rue is described by those who know him as tough and ambitious, but they also say that he is someone “who exhibits a laid-back air”.
Members of the regiment will be watching closely to see if the Prince will be treated in the same way as any other officer who was found to have misbehaved.
While many in the Army believe that the Prince’s Las Vegas antics amount to little more than a “storm in a teacup”, other officers have told The Sunday Telegraph that his behaviour is not what is expected from a Captain hoping to be deployed on operations in Afghanistan. His behaviour may impact on his future career and next posting.
If the Prince intends to make a long-term career of the Army, he will be hoping to become an adjutant.
They are key figures within regiments, serving as commanding officers’ executive staff officers. One of their most important roles is ensuring that discipline is properly enforced.
The Prince will be given a second chance by his commanding officer when the pair meet in the next few weeks, but he will also be warned that he will have to tread carefully in the future or risk being regarded as a laughing stock by those under his command and a liability to the regiment.
Lt Col de la Rue will not, however, be the first senior officer to have told off a Prince. Four years ago, the now Duke of Cambridge was summoned to a dressing down – known as an “interview without coffee” – when it emerged that he had used part of his flying training to attend a stag party and to practise his landing and take-off manoeuvres in the garden of his then future parents-in-law.
The two pictures of Prince Harry in Las Vegas taken on a mobile phone, however, have caused far greater concern after they were published last week by TMZ, a US gossip website.
Although the pictures were published on the internet and widely viewed in Britain, The Sun has been the only British newspaper to publish them, prompting further debate over the press and privacy.
There is concern within the Palace – as well as the Army – that more pictures of what happened at the party could emerge.
Max Clifford, the publicist, said he was offered more pictures, while there have been rumours in the US that a full-frontal picture of the Prince exists and could be purchased for publication.
The party in a Las Vegas hotel suite was during a weekend the Prince spent with friends including Thomas “Skippy” Inskip, his 25-year-old friend who is said to call himself Harry’s “wingman”. The identity of another of the people present emerged yesterday as Ollie Fox, the head chef of a catering company based in Chislehurst, Kent.
The Ministry of Defence has refused to comment on the Prince’s behaviour and whether it breaches the Army’s code of conduct.
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