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Prince Harry leads tributes to fallen servicemen in hilltop ceremony in Italy

18 MAY 2014

Prince Harry paid his respects to those who lost their lives during the Second World War at a commemoration service on Sunday morning in Italy.

The 29-year-old royal was visiting the southern European country on a two-day tour, having flown in from Estonia where he had also been carrying out official engagements.

Harry's first task of the day was to step in for his grandmother The Queen. The fourth-in-line to the throne, who has twice served in Afghanistan in the past, was decked out in traditional Household cavalry warm weather ceremonial uniform.

 

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Prince Harry in Italy

Prince Harry


Sporting his immaculate white outfit, Harry laid a wreath on behalf of Her Majesty during the Polish commemoration service ceremony. The event was held at the Polish Cemetery on the rocky hilltop of Monte Cassino, approximately 80 miles southeast of Rome.

The focus of his visit to Italy was to remember the tens of thousands of Allied troops, many of them British, who died at the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944, in their effort to drive the Germans out of the mountainous area. It has been 70 years since the key World War Two fight.

 

Prince Harry in Italy

Prince Harry stood in for The Queen at a wreath-laying ceremony



Harry was joined at the open-air commemoration service by more than 50 Polish veterans from the battle, Polish prime minister Donald Tusk and the politician's wife Malgorzata Tusk. Donald spoke in honour of those who had sacrificed their lives, saying that his country "was not idle, we were not helpless, we were able to prove to the whole world there is no hill that cannot be attained."

Following the event, army captain Harry was guided around the Monte Cassino Abbey, which was founded 1,500 years ago and restored after the war. The Prince was welcomed by father Antonio and listened to his stories as they walked around and took in the views from the hilltop monastery.

The athletic royal, who launched his Paralympic-style sporting event Invictus Games in March, also met wounded Italian veterans who would be taking part in the games.

 

Prince Harry in Italy

Prince Harry toured the Monte Cassino Abbey with General Duncan Zenn



Harry's next engagements of the day include another wreath-laying ceremony at the Cassino Commonwealth War Cemetery, to remember the fallen New Zealand soldiers, followed by a trip to the MAXXI National Museum of Contemporary Arts in Rome, where he will unveil the winning design for the UK pavilion at Milan EXPO 2015.

The last time Harry was in Italy was in 1985 when he was a baby. The red-haired royal was on a family holiday with his older brother Prince William and parents Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana.

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