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Prince Harry visits Arlington National Cemetery

10th May 2013

Prince Harry pays his respects at Arlington National Cemetery

Prince Harry pays his respects at Arlington National Cemetery

Prince Harry honoured America's war dead today and its greatest post-war President, John F Kennedy, by laying floral tributes at a national cemetery commemorating the country's fallen heroes.

The Prince visited Arlington National Cemetery in Washington to pay his respects to servicemen and women who fought and died for the US. Arlington plays an important role in the life of America as it holds the remains of soldiers involved in every conflict the US has fought in along with leading military figures.

Prince Harry, a Captain in the British Army, wore his Household Cavalry's Blues and Royals No 1 dress uniform and the light blue beret of the Army Air Corps.

He paid his respects at the grave of former President Kennedy, who was assassinated almost 50 years ago in November 1963, leaving a bouquet of flowers.

The Prince, who is 28, knelt on one knee and placed the blooms on the tombstone, which lies next to an eternal flame, then stood to attention, bowed his head and paused for a moment in quiet reflection.

At the cemetery's Section 60 - where US troops who have been killed in recent conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan are buried - Prince Harry laid a wreath.

The floral tribute was placed closed to a grave chosen at random from thousands - that of Army Specialist Michael Stansbery Jnr, an artilleryman who was killed, aged 21, in Afghanistan in 2010 by an improvised explosive device while on a foot patrol.

The headstone of Spc Stansbery, a recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, had six stones and glass beads placed on it by family members to mark their visits.


A hand-written note by England's Prince Harry is seen at Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery

A hand-written note by England's Prince Harry is seen at Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery

A hand-written card on the wreath read: "To my comrades in arms of the United States of America, who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of freedom, Captain Harry Wales."

After placing the wreath, The Prince stood to attention and saluted the grave, before walking alone through the rows of headstones surrounding it, pausing several times to read individual inscriptions.

Prince Harry also paid his respects at the grave of the legendary British officer Major General Orde Wingate who created the Chindits, troops who fought behind enemy lines in the Far East during the Second World War. The officer was killed in a plane crash in 1944 and his remains were later moved to Arlington. The Prince spent around ten minutes by the grave of Wingate and his comrades, chatting to American officers accompanying him. The Prince's aides said he was familiar with the story of the British officer.

At the Tomb of the Unknowns, hundreds of members of the public gathered to watch Harry perform the five-minute wreath-laying ceremony, which was preceded by the national anthems of Britain and America played by the US Army Band "Pershing's Own".

On the steps of the cemetery's memorial amphitheatre which overlooked the tomb, Prince Harry stood shoulder to shoulder with Major General Michael S Linnington, commanding general for the military district of Washington, as the anthems played and both men saluted.

As the music ended Prince Harry walked forward and placed a wreath of poppies on a stand in front of the tomb, then saluted while the Last Post was sounded. The white marble sarcophagus holds the remains of an unidentified American soldier who died during the First World War.

Attached to the large wreath of poppies was a handwritten note from Prince Harry: "In grateful memory of all those who have given their lives in the cause of freedom".