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Prince Harry to Enlist?

Aired May 27, 2003 - 20:54   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Britain is wild about Harry, of course, and so is Eaton. Prince Harry was a rousing commander of the school's cadet force and its parade. There you see him there. This comes on the heels of reports that Harry, along with his brother, Prince William, have decided to enlist in the British Army Academy, an unlikely career path perhaps for a young man who has filled the tabloids with other kind of news, the kind having to do with young ladies and some not so flattering reports about drinking and drugs.
Justin Webb is watching it all from Washington, where he's a correspondent from the BBC. He joins me now to talk about it.

Justin, thanks for being with us.

First of all, for people who are a little bit confused. What was that video we were looking at? That was him at his boarding school, his prep school, Eaton.

JUSTIN WEBB, BBC WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, not just any old boarding school or prep school, Eaton, the top one and the top day for him. Very important day for people in the officer training corps there, which is a very important part of Eaton. He was the man chosen, the boy chosen to be the boss of this event, and to -- as can you see, order the troops, tell them what to do, make the whole thing go in order. They had a kind of mock battle and a parade, and old soldiers come there and meet them.

He was -- he won the honor of doing it. Now, you might -- Well, hang on a second. Hasn't he got connections in high places? Well, apparently, according to people at the school, he won it because he's a very good soldier.

COOPER: How is...

WEBB: It appears to be a career he wants to follow.

COOPER: How is he viewed, not just as his school, but in Britain at large? I mean what is the perception of Young Harry?

WEBB: Well, there's a sort of feeling that he is some one who potentially, I guess, could go off the rails. But people are willing to give an awful lot of latitude to because, of course, the awful circumstances of his mother's death and there's a great deal of residual sympathy for him, but still a knowledge that's he a bit of a goodtime boy, a Hooray Henry as we call him. COOPER: That's his nickname? Hooray Henry?

WEBB: Hooray Henry, yes. It's a sort of a term for a young aristocrat who's got a lot of money, not necessarily terribly bright and likes to have a good time and enjoy themselves. And a lot of Harry's friends certainly seem to fall into that category.

Of course, he had this incident where he was apparently caught smoking pot, which is not, by the way, regarded in Britain as a desperately serious offense, vis-a-vis our last conversation. It's interesting that difference.

COOPER: Yes, well, I imagine, though, it doesn't go down big at Sandhurst, which is a...

WEBB: No, he's...


WEBB: He's also -- there's suggestion of underaged drinking. I guess that's some thing he probably wouldn't need to cut out so desperately at Sandhurst...


COOPER: Going to Sandhurst is a bit of a change for -- I mean, his father was in, I believe in the navy, also his uncle, Andrew, was in the navy as well. Why are they going in -- or seem to be expressing interest in the army?

WEBB: Seems to be he has a genuine interest in doing it.

Now, of course, Andrew's brother Edward had a pretty desperate time joining the Marines and didn't enjoy the training at all and dropped out. But it looks to all the world as if Harry actually is going to enjoy himself, has enjoyed the military training he's had at Eaton and is seriously considering some kind of military career. And it would be in a top regiment. You know, British regiments are still very socially divided and they'd join some thing like the Welsh guards, where there would be an awful lot of people who are land owners and people who rather like him, so he wouldn't feel out of place. But nonetheless it's a serious career option for him and appears to be one that he's seriously considering.

I have to tell you another option he has considered at one stage, though, is being a professional polo player. So he's still working himself out.

COOPER: Well, I'm not sure there's such a calling for professional polo players these days, but maybe in some parts of the world.

WEBB: Oh, in Britain.

COOPER: I'm sure. All right, Justin Webb, appreciate you joining us. Thanks very much.


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