Thursday, February 28, 2008

Army Life

Apart from the experience of fighting wars, another important experience many soldiers have gained from army life is exposure to people from different backgrounds - for example, old Etonians sharing tents with people from inner-city estates. For this reason, wars often trigger enormous social transformations.

Some months ago, it was formally announced that Prince Harry would not be permitted to fight in Iraq. So it was not hard to guess the sequel - that he would be sent to fight somewhere else - probably Afghanistan - and that this would be kept secret for as long as possible.

The secret has now leaked out [BBC News, February 28th 2008], and we learn that Prince Harry has been in Helmand province for ten weeks already, where he is enjoying a "normal life".

"I haven't really had a shower for four days, I haven't washed my clothes for a week. It's very nice to be sort of a normal person for once."

Yep, that's normal: mens immunda in corpore immundo

Of course, the British Royal Family has always prided itself on its superior cleanliness. Queen Elizabeth the First used to have a bath every few weeks, "whether she needed it or not". It is most salutory for Prince Harry to find out how the other 99% live.

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