The royal discovered an ally of a different kind while visiting Australia

By Phil Boucher
April 06, 2015 08:55 AM
Lukas CochGetty

Prince Harry has gotten a lot of attention for the color of his hair ever since he first appeared in the arms of his mother, Princess Diana.

So when he spotted a sign reading “Red Heads RULE!” on the opening day of his four-week trip to Australia Monday, he was naturally keen to seek out its owner.

“He said that I was fabulous in making the sign and it’s awesome to be a redhead,” Ethan Toscan, 12, told Nine Network in Australia.

“He was just like, ‘Being a redhead just has to be the No. 1 thing one person can ever be.’ ”

Harry’s joking didn’t stop there, either: A 1,000-strong crowd had gathered in the rain to watch the prince arrive at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, and one well-wisher, who was snapping a selfie, caught the eye of the royal.

“Seriously, you need to get out of it,” Harry, who looked resplendent in a white and black dress uniform decorated with three medals, reportedly said. “I know you’re young, but selfies are bad!”

Harry’s visit wasn’t all about fun, though. He later paid tribute to Australia’s war casualties by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier, and observing a minute of silence.

His wreath card read, simply: “In memory of all the Australian servicemen and women who gave their lives in the service of their country.”

The visit is the only public appearance Harry is expected to make while he’s in Australia; the prince is officially on a four-week placement with the Australian Defense Force.

The prince, known as Captain Wales in his military role, will leave the British Army in June after 10 years’ service, and he deliberately asked to spend some of his remaining months on active duty with the Australian Defense Force.

Harry’s decision comes from serving alongside Australian troops in Afghanistan, as well his charity trek to the South Pole. The combination had “stoked his enthusiasm” to work with Australian forces, according to a palace spokesperson.

The ADF have promised to give Harry an “authentic military experience” that will see him spend time training on helicopter simulators in Perth alongside the famously tough Australian SAS.

Harry will then move north to Darwin and go on patrol with members of Norforce, an infantry regiment of mainly Aboriginal soldiers.

With one eye to his future role, Prince Harry is also going to learn more about how Australia cares for its wounded veterans, so that he can put the information to use with his Walking With the Wounded.

“I know that Captain Wales will benefit greatly from spending time with the Australian Diggers,” the Queen wrote in a letter to the chief of the ADF. “I thank you for welcoming him into your ranks.”

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