Prince Harry lays wreaths to honour US war dead

Prince Harry at a meeting in Washington at the start of his US visit. Picture: Getty
Prince Harry at a meeting in Washington at the start of his US visit. Picture: Getty
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PRINCE Harry honoured America’s war dead and former president, John F Kennedy, by laying floral tributes at the cemetery commemorating the country’s fallen heroes.

Harry visited Arlington National Cemetery in Washington to pay his respects to servicemen and women who fought and died for the US.

The Prince with Colonel Gregg Gadson. Picture: PA

The Prince with Colonel Gregg Gadson. Picture: PA

In contrast to the screaming young women who greeted the prince when he arrived in Washington on Thursday at the start of his seven-day tour, there was a dignified silence throughout the cemetery.

Arlington is important to America as it holds the remains of soldiers involved in every conflict the US has fought, along with leading military figures.

Harry, a captain in the British Army, wore his Household Cavalry 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.

Prince Harry, 28, knelt and placed the flowers on the tombstone, then stood to attention, bowed his head and paused for a moment in quiet reflection.

A St James’s Palace spokesman said: “It was an appropriate gesture to recognise the passing of president Kennedy 50 years after his death.”

At the cemetery’s Section 60 – where US troops who have been killed in recent conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan are buried – Harry laid a wreath.

The floral tribute was placed close 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 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 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.

Maj-Gen Wingate was killed in a plane crash in 1944 and his remains were later moved to Arlington.

At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, hundreds watched Harry perform a wreath-laying ceremony.