0

by RAY FLEMING
A LETTER from Patrick Harrison, the Press Secretary to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, was printed in The Times yesterday. Mr Harrison “objected strongly” to the fact that the newspaper had placed photographs of Prince William and Prince Harry either side of an image of a handcuffed and blindfolded prisoner at Abu Ghraib in Iraq. The pictures were related to an accompanying article reporting a new course at Sandhurst Royal Military Academy intended to help officers to deal with the desire to abuse prisoners and inflict revenge on the enemy. Mr Harrison, presumably reflecting the views of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Conrnwall, not to mention those of Prince William and Prince Harry, said that the pictures were “misleading and offensive”. I did not see the offending page because the edition of The Times on sale in Majorca showed the two Princes on either side of an old print of a Protestant undergoing torture ordered by the Catholic Queen Mary in 1558. I don't know whether Mr Harrison would have thought this less offensive than the Abu Ghraib picture which so upset him but whereas the 1558 picture directly implicated an ancestor of Prince Charles and his sons, no one seeing the Abu Ghraib picture would think for a moment that they had been directly involved in that atrocity. It is good news that Sandhurst is tackling the issue of abuse and revenge against the enemy because it is something that all military people have to be aware of and fight against. The two young Princes have elected to serve in the armed forces; Prince Harry has already taken part in the new course and Prince William will do so shortly. So it is difficult to see what led Mr Harrison to complain about a page which he says “has clearly been designed to be as eyecatching as possible, is inaccurate, in poor taste, and at variance with the article itself.” Nerves must be on edge at Clarence House if this letter was indeed approved by Prince Charles. It is yet another example of how removed he and his advisers are from real life.