Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Charles' surprise visit to troops in Iraq


February 8, 2004
Share this:

Prince Charles donned combat fatigues and braved a high security risk at the weekend when he visited British troops at a military compound in Iraq. And the Prince of Wales made a stirring speech when he met the soldiers at Basra Palace in the south of the war-ravaged country.

"You are a remarkable bunch of people and I can only salute you," he told members of the Parachute Regiment, of which he is Colonel in Chief. "I think we owe you a huge debt of gratitude. You have a great way of conducting the hearts and minds campaign which, at the end of the day, makes such a fantastic difference."

Charles' trip, which was shrouded in secrecy because of fears of a terrorist attack, was the first such visit made by a British royal in 40 years. Gunfire could be heard in the distance as his Chinook helicopter arrived at the palace and again when he chatted with Iraqi civilians.

The 55-year-old then flew on to the Iranian capital Tehran, where he was welcomed by President Mohammad Khatami. Relations between Britain and Iran have been strained at times, and their meeting is seen as a sign of easing tensions. The royal was also scheduled to visit the ancient city of Bam, which suffered a devastating earthquake on December 26.

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
In characteristically English fashion, Prince Charles enjoys a cup of tea with members of Second Batallion Parachute Regiment. He praised the troops for their dedication to the difficult task of "winning hearts and minds" in IraqPhoto: © AFP
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Charles met the servicemen at Basra Palace, one of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein's former residencesPhoto: © AFP

More Royalty

See more