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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

The Fighting Prince

Aired May 19, 2012 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Then and now. At his happiest, in combat uniform.

PRINCE HARRY: There's something about me. I do enjoy running down the ditch through the mud. It's just the way I am. I love it.

FOSTER: Then and now a streak of irreverence, but for long, one of the lads with an eye out for the next party.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is a party prince. You know he likes to go on holiday. He likes to have a drink or two, and I think that's what people respond to with him.

FOSTER: Then and now. A son, and a brother.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did all the washing out?

PRINCE WILLIAM: He does do a bit of washing out, but he leaves most of it in the sink and then it comes back in the morning and I have to wash it out.

PRINCE HARRY: Oh, the lies.

FOSTER: Prince Harry is third in line to the British throne. Four years ago, his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II sent him off to Afghanistan to fight. This year celebrating 60 years on the throne she has a different kind of deployment in mind. She's sending Harry on a royal tour to the Caribbean.

Protocol and ceremony are to be properly observed, of course, but this will be, we're told, very Prince Harry.

PRINCE HARRY: You can't sit there with a stiff upper lip, with crossed arms and not get involved. I have never taken myself too seriously.

FOSTER (on camera): So Prince Harry has arrived here in Belize. It's a big test for him really. It's going to define his own public role. It's the first time he's represented the Queen abroad. It's a big thing for him and the palace. So let's see how he does here. How he shows his own personality, but at the same time represents the Queen, the head of state in the U.K., but also in Belize.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, we have the arrival of his royal highness, Prince Harry of Wales.

FOSTER: The welcome is warm. The dress code is relaxed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We could not have asked for a better night than tonight. All the stars are shining and a cloudless --

FOSTER: The prince has a boulevard to rename and an audience to charm.

PRINCE HARRY: When it became clear that I was to represent my grandmother in Belize, my heart leapt, for a good reason.

(CHEERS)

For the noisy corner here.

(LAUGHTER)

And more noise on this side, please.

(CHEERS)

And just remains for me to name this street, the Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Boulevard.

FOSTER: And so the party and the (INAUDIBLE) begins.

With Prince Harry, say those who know him, what you see is what you get.

KEDGE MARTIN, SENTEBALE CHILDREN CHARITY: There's no pretense to him so you can immediately engage with someone who's just straightforward which he is. And that -- that's just an incredible charming personality. I think he's very much his mother's son. He's got very much the common touch among commoners and he's got that natural empathy, a very human touch that is just kind of straightforward and no pretense at all.

FOSTER: That common touch was something his mother, the Princess of Wales, was always keen to foster, even as her marriage to Charles was breaking up.

When Harry lost his mother before he'd even entered his teens, his composure like that of his brother was astonishing. As his father acknowledged in a speech less than three weeks after Diana's death.

PRINCE WILLIAM: Thank you so much.

PRINCE CHARLES, WALES: I'm unbelievably proud of the children, William and Harry. They've been quite remarkable. And I think they've handled an extraordinarily difficult time, as I'm sure all of you could imagine, with quite enormous character. And the greatest possible dignity.

FOSTER: Speaking on a trip to Africa two years ago, Harry made it clear that Diana remain a very real presence in his life and in that of his brother. PRINCE HARRY: Whatever we do, wherever we are, whoever we're with, I particularly always wondered what she would think, what she would be doing if she was with us now, whether she'd be sitting, having a laugh, whether she'd be in the background, sitting, whether she'd be playing football with the children. All these things. You know, and that's -- and that's I suppose what keeps us going every day, is that, you know, that thought of what would she be like if she were around today.

FOSTER: The reaction Harry provokes in the Bahamas is reminiscent to the effect his mother could have. It's hard not to get swept away by it all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's good for him to be here. Some of us would never get to England. So it's a privilege.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I explained to him, this was the Queen's grandson. He doesn't know. And he's 7. (INAUDIBLE). So it's wonderful. It's a pleasure.

FOSTER (on camera): Well, that was something else. Never have I seen a reaction like that for a royal. Prince Harry took Harbor Island by storm. The Bahamas love him. Belize loves him. That's a story that's told so far.

(Voice-over): Still to come, the military highs, and the nightclub lows.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was quite shocked, in fact.

FOSTER: When "Harry, The Soldier Prince" continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER (voice-over): Four years ago, Prince Harry fulfilled a burning ambition. He was deployed to Afghanistan to fight.

PRINCE HARRY: The guys were pretty bummed because nothing was happening for the first few days I was here, but things are picking up again now because it's obviously quite boring when nothing happens down there.

FOSTER: Britain's royals are expected to serve in the armed forces. Prince Charles was in the Navy, as was is brother, Prince Andrew, who flew helicopters during the Falklands war in 1982. Prince William is in the air force flying search and rescue.

For Prince Harry, though, it was always going to be the army. He was an officer cadet at school, leading the parade. Age 20, his father handed him over to the Santos Military Academy where Britain trains its officer class. The regime here is unforgiving.

GEN. ANDREW RITCHIE, FORMER SANDHURST COMMANDANT: They start pretty early. We say here that many of the cadets who turn out have been used to working for four hours a day and sleeping for 20, and our aim is generally to reverse that cycle. FOSTER: One year later, and he was a commissioned officer. And desperately keen to serve on the front line.

PRINCE HARRY: They said, no, you can't go to front line, then I wouldn't drag my sorry ass to Sandhurst, and I wouldn't -- I wouldn't be where I am now, because the last thing I want to do is have my soldiers sent away to Iraq or wherever like that, and for me to be held back home twiddling my thumbs thinking well, what about David? What about Derrick? You know?

FOSTER: But first he was off to Iraq.

GEN. SIR RICHARD DANNETT, FORMER BRITISH ARMY CHIEF: The decision has been taken by myself that he will deploy with his regimen in due course.

FOSTER: Two weeks later, it was off.

DANNETT: I have decided that the risk to Prince Harry is too great.

FOSTER: Finally, with the media sworn to secrecy, he was deployed. If Prince Harry had wanted to get as far away as possible from his military base in Britain, he had succeeded. He found himself in the south of Helmand Province working as a battlefield air controller, face-to-face with the Taliban.

PRINCE HARRY: They pop up their heads, they pop their heads up and that's it. And then if, you know, if the guys are coming under a lot of fire, then I call the air and as soon as the air comes up they disappear, and jump down on these holes or go into their bunkers.

A large compound just confirm. There's many craters from air ordnance. (INAUDIBLE) was where dropped two days ago. This is a big emphasis, and they're building up. The whole place is just deserted. There's no regimen, no compounds. There's craters all over the place. It looks like something out of sort of the bottom of the sun.

FOSTER: He also undertook foot patrols and embraced his anonymity.

PRINCE HARRY: It's very nice to be sort of a normal person. For once I think this is far as I was going to get, just walking around, some of the locals with the EMP. They ain't got a clue. Next door through these walls it's got holes in it and the interpreters. They haven't got a clue, sit down, have a chat with them, have a cigarette with them, and wish I could say a beer, but that doesn't happen around here.

PRINCE HARRY: The Americans arrived. All is well.

FOSTER: A few weeks later, then Harry could move north.

PRINCE HARRY: They brought dogs.

FOSTER: Who is now with a squadron of armored vehicles and still clearly in his element.

PRINCE HARRY: I was going to -- kill or die. The dogs -- killer dog. Not so good.

FOSTER: On one occasion, as it was about to cross a wadi, a dry river bed, the patrol discovered a roadside bomb.

PRINCE HARRY: Yesterday we just bumped into an IED in a bungled point. Perfect at this point.

FOSTER: Still working as an air traffic controller it was Harry's job to bring in the disposal unit.

PRINCE HARRY: Beautiful car. We waited about four hours for the EOD team to come out. If you can possible not land directly on it. It was pretty weak throw.

Between the three of us, we might persuade the helicopters to land in the wadi which made it a lot easier. They came down, 12 of them, not entirely sure why so many would (INAUDIBLE). They're expecting a long night out. They got the job done, did a controlled explosion.

And then we pulled out and -- well looking back on it essentially we saved, you know, numerous people's lives, whether it was ours or EMP or just locals driving through that point so, you know, it's a good job, well done.

FOSTER: Members of Harry's squadron gave him a favorable appraisal. With an odd qualification.

LT. SGT. JAMES POLLAND, BRITISH ARMY: He's a prince, he's royalty, but also an officer. He's a good officer as well and let's get on with it.

LT. CPL. PAUL CARRINGTON, BRITISH ARMY: It can give us a little bit of a benefit because we do get not surprises he's tucked away from the other units because obviously, they want a bit of face time with Mr. Wales. So there's no problem whatsoever.

PRINCE HARRY: Just take a time out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need breakfast.

LT. CPL. FRANKIE O'LEARY, BRITISH ARMY: Actually he gets in his bed at nighttime, passing on and then he always calls someone over. Can you possibly that in place because I'm absent-minded and falls to his bed. Yes.

FOSTER: Harry's time in Afghanistan ended abruptly after word of his deployment leaked out. He was quickly brought home and immediately champing at the bit to go back.

PRINCE HARRY: I'd love to go back and I've already mentioned it. I want to go back very, very soon. I don't intend on leaving the army but I think as I've always said to you, if you ask them, once you're back from operations, everything is a bit of (INAUDIBLE). As in you go back to your unit and well, there you are, day in, day out, you know, same routine. Nothing changes. And that's the way it is. At least in operations, you're kept on your toes the whole time. That's what guys join us for, I guess. That just -- you know, that sort of adrenaline.

FOSTER: It was never in any doubt that his Caribbean trip would include a visit to an army base. And perhaps it was inevitable that Afghanistan on the other side of the world should still cast a shadow.

(On camera): Today was meant to be the day we got a sense of a military prince. He's dressed up in his military gear but it's also the day that six British soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. So the whole event is being toned down. Harry doesn't want to be seen to be having fun and sort of in action on day that service men have been killed and service personnel. So he wants you to go up this re rappel tower. An upscale down. But the plan is now changed. He's just going to watch that going on.

(Voice-over): He does, though, take part in some shooting practice.

PRINCE HARRY: Stand at the other end.

FOSTER: Reminding those of us in the press pack of his noted marksmanship. And as Prince Harry gets down to business, scoring a near perfect 39 out of 40, I find myself in conversation with an old mate of his from Sandhurst, Lt. Kayon Mills.

LT. KAYON MILLS, JAMAICAN ARMY: The Prince Harry that I know is very dedicated, and you may think this is a prince, right? But he's really one of the guys. He's really one of the boys. He's dedicated. Always gave his 110 percent. Always dug in when it's time to dig in. Always get down to the grind, into the dirt or platoon, as we know it, that group that we trained with, we are still very tightly knit. We are on most of the social network.

FOSTER (on camera): So you speak to him on Facebook?

MILLS: Well -- he's not on that. But when I get his number, and from time to time his number will change, yes. |

FOSTER: You have a chat. What do people (INAUDIBLE) about at Sandhurst? Being a royal?

MILLS: Being a royal. Harry Potter series.

FOSTER: Just call him Harry Potter?

MILLS: Sometimes.

(LAUGHTER)

FOSTER (voice-over): Lt. Mills had described an impressive fellow cadet to me but this was also a period in Prince Harry's life when he made mistakes -- in public.

It was stories of drug taking and heavy drinking. There were stories of brawling outside nightclubs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the first I've ever seen Prince Harry. It's the first time, you know, photographed him. I was quite shocked, in fact.

FOSTER: Not forgetting the infamous occasion he went dressed as a Nazi to a fancy dress party.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: It's another righty royal mess, and once again it's Prince Harry who's in the firing line.

FOSTER: That earned him a rebuke from some of the country's senior politicians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Several of the Prince is showing such immaturity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think a public apology is appropriate.

ROYA MIKKHAH, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: I think those are part of him growing up, learning, perhaps not being aware of how much the media were going to scrutinize him. I think definitely Harry, we haven't so far had a gaffe from him for quite a long time. I think he's (INAUDIBLE).

FOSTER: Senior royal sources agree. He's matured, they say, and the impulsiveness that used to land him in trouble now shows itself in a sense of fun. Never more so than in Jamaica when Harry pays a call on the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt.

After a bit of banter, a bit of goofing, Harry pulls the old distraction technique.

ARTHUR EDWARDS, THE SUN: He's here because they really wanted him, the Jamaicans. They wanted Harry. Princess Diana was coming here, they sort of twisted and did everything to get him and I think he's thrilled about that.

USAIN BOLT, SPRINTER: He is really laid back. He's a wonderful person, as I said. Professional, late back, very cool. He's a professional. So I like him.

FOSTER: The call of duty, and absolute loyalty. As "Harry, The Soldier Prince" concludes in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER (voice-over): Royalty or not, you can't come to Jamaica and expect to escape without winding your waist.

PRINCE HARRY: The warm reception that we've received has been utterly amazing.

FOSTER: And where there's dancing in the backyard of a youth center or touring the wards of a children's hospital, it's clear how easily Harry responds to the young and they to him.

MARTIN: I think it's often said he's a bit of a child himself. His words, not mine. And I think he just -- he can play at their level and understand what's kind of going on in their heads, and as I say, either pick up a board or just, you know, flick or stick his tongue out or whatever it might be. He's just -- I don't know. The way he engages is great.

FOSTER: Children are at the center of Prince Harry's charity, Sentebale, where he set up in Lesotho in 2006. A bouncing kingdom in Southern Africa made a deep impression on Harry when he spent two months there during a gap year after finishing school.

PRINCE HARRY: I want to go somewhere where there's an AIDS problem centered in Africa. Somewhere where, you know, no one really knows about and Lesotho was mentioned, I was like, never really heard of that place. Let's try it out. Ever since then, it's just -- you know, it's since been sort of love at first sight.

FOSTER: Lesotho has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS infection in the world. The charity seeks to looks after children orphaned by the disease. AIDS has also led to the rise of a terrible myth here that sex with young children can cure sufferers of the disease. Prince Harry is spared none of the reality listening intently.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sexual abuse is happening to children, like the court case that I went to this morning. But it's still pending.

PRINCE HARRY: This is going to take time. You can't expect to see changes in three years, even though, as far as I'm concerned, coming here two, three time as year whenever I can out of the army, and the changes I see are fantastic, and mainly the changes you see are within the children.

MARTIN: Sentebale actually means forget me not. Reminds me of his mother. It's his first organization that he has driven very hard to establish. I think he's very contemplative and certainly spending time with him in Africa and you can see him really, really thinking about things, and, I mean thinking about them terribly but also very much in his heart. He's very clear about what he wants to achieve and you just, you know, make sure that Sentebale's on his way to doing that.

FOSTER: One goal Harry is desperately keen to achieve is to serve again in Afghanistan. Earlier this year he completed his training as an Apache helicopter pilot. If Harry is deployed again, it's not expected to be done in secret. The palace doesn't believe he'll need extra security. Flying attack helicopters means Harry will be largely anonymous. The Apache is certainly a target for Taliban fighters, but crucially, Harry's presence will not heighten the risk to anyone else.

So Britain's royal family now has two of its most senior members flying helicopters in the armed forces. The relationship between the two princes is extremely close. Royal sources describe it as a double act set to last the rest of their lives.

PRINCE WILLIAM: Like cooking and feed him basically every day. I think he's done rather well.

PRINCE HARRY: It's the army. We work harder and so we ain't got much --

PRINCE WILLIAM: Oh, gag. Oh, gag. We are quite -- known to the griffin. There are --

PRINCE HARRY: Off the ground. Just off the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Obviously going over there. Boldness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you're flying solo.

PRINCE WILLIAM: Pretty rich coming from a ginger. So --

(CROSSTALK)

PRINCE WILLIAM: He's just very modest about it. But he's doing very well.

PRINCE HARRY: And he's right.

PRINCE WILLIAM: At the end of day, though --

MIKKHAH: I don't think anyone, really, within the royal household sees Prince Harry as, you know, the spare heir. They are, you know, when they do things together it has huge impact, whether it's an overseas tour to Africa or whether I think when you see them coming together for things like a royal wedding. You'll see them together at the jubilee this year. I think they have so much impact more together and they're aware of that and they use that.

FOSTER: The arrival of the Duchess of Cambridge into the family has served only to strengthen those bonds. In fact, Harry gets on so well with Kate, he's described her as his sister, rather than sister-in- law, and in the course of making this program, CNN discovered that Harry has now moved into an apartment at Kensington Palace where William and Kate have already set up home.

The two brothers wanted to be together, we're told. Something Harry has talked about in the past.

PRINCE HARRY: Despite me having sort of maybe it's a lot of easier sort of trap, and I must not forget that his life is going to be a lot harder and more demanding, and that I need to be there for him whenever he needs me.

FOSTER: Royal sources say Harry would never see himself as a statesman, and yet that's exactly what the Queen asked him to be when she sent him to the Caribbean. In Jamaica, as on the rest of the trip, he does it his way.

PRINCE HARRY: Her Majesty has asked me to extend her great wishes to you all and is sorry that she can't be here. So you're stuck with me. But don't worry, because every little thing is going to be all right.

FOSTER: Meeting the prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller, who talked publicly a few weeks earlier about Jamaica becoming a republic, Harry diffuses any possible embarrassment by suggesting a hug.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You ended up hugging the Jamaican prime minister. PRINCE HARRY: She hug me. And she did ask, and she loves hugs, and she hugged my father as well.

FOSTER: By the end of the day, this unorthodox 27-year-old statesman is feeling comfortable enough to gently flirt with the prime minister.

PRINCE HARRY: My date for tonight.

FOSTER: As the trip comes to an end, the word from home is that the Queen is very proud of what Harry has achieved on this, his first trip representing her majesty overseas.

There's likely nothing, not even serving with his regiment abroad, will please the soldier prince more than to know he's done well by the Queen.

PRINCE HARRY: I've had an amazing time. I've had a blast. I just hope my grandma is proud of what I've done.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)