Harry wants return to national service

Prince Harry at Linton Military Camp near Palmerston North last week.
Prince Harry at Linton Military Camp near Palmerston North last week.

Britain's Prince Harry has called for the return of national service in the country, crediting a military career for helping to keep himself and the soldiers he commanded on the right track.

The 30-year-old and fifth in line to the throne told The Sunday Times that his 10-year career in the British Army had done "amazing things" for him.

"Bring back national service," he said. "I dread to think where I'd be without the army ... And more importantly to me, what I've seen the army do to other young guys."

In 2012 Harry, the Queen's grandson, expressed his regret after pictures were published of him and a young woman naked in Las Vegas, in an incident which embarrassed the monarchy.

Harry is due to leave the army next month, having said earlier in the year that he is at a crossroads in life and explaining that taking on more royal duties he would not have the time to focus on his army job.

Asked about his love life in the interview, Harry said he was happy with his current single status.

"For me, it's good, I'm very happy not having a girlfriend. I'm not sort of, looking. It's cool," he said.

The prince was speaking to the newspaper in New Zealand, where he has spent the last week on a tour, after previously completing a month-long secondment to the Australian Defence Force.

His call for the reinstatement of national service, which was phased out in Britain from 1960, follows the publication earlier this week of letters from his father Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, to government ministers.

Under Britain's unwritten constitution, the royal family is supposed to remain above politics, and the Queen has kept her opinions to herself during her 63-year reign.

Harry is planning to spend three months this summer in southern Africa, pursuing his interests in wildlife and conservation.

He is due to return to Britain this week when he is expected to meet Princess Charlotte, his brother William's second child, who was born earlier this month.

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