Special soldier

Harry is a 'VIP' says British Defense Secretary

Are some soldiers more equal than others?

09.18.12 11:04 AM ET

Britain's minister of defence described Prince Harry as a 'VIP' on a TV news program last night, inadvertantly giving the lie to spinner's claims that Harry's life is no more and no less important than any other soldier's.

Philip Hammond was being questioned about the recent attack on Camp Bastion when interviewer Jeremy Paxman asked him if reports about Harry being 'bundled' into a secure location by guards were accurate, and if Harry was at the 'same risk' as other soldiers.

Britain's Prince Harry (L) is shown the Apache helicopter flight-line by a member of his 622 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, part of 16 Air Assault Brigade, at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on September 7, 2012, where he will be operating from during his tour of duty as a co-pilot gunner. Prince Harry is back in Afghanistan to serve as a military helicopter pilot four years after his previous deployment there had to be cut short, the Ministry of Defence said on September 7.  AFP PHOTO / POOL / JOHN STILLWELL        (Photo credit should read JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/GettyImages)

John Stillwell / AFP/ Getty images

Hammond replied:

"Clearly there are fall-back plans and I can't go into the detail of them, but once we knew on Friday night that the perimeter at Bastion had been breached he would have been moved to a secure position under effective guard."

Asked by  Paxman if that meant Prince Harry was not treated 'the same as every other soldier', the Defence Secretary said: "You asked me whether he was at any greater risk. And I've told you that in combat he's at the same risk as any other Apache pilot.

"Clearly if we had a VIP in theatre and frankly if I was there or, Jeremy, if you were there in Camp Bastion and there was a breach of the perimeter security, anybody who might, by nature of who they are, be a target, they would be put in a secure location."

He added: "He is serving there as an ordinary officer but clearly there are additional security arrangements in place that recognise that he could be a target himself specifically as a result of who he is."

Harry is being accompanied by armed guards at Camp Bastion to protect him from 'green on blue' attacks where Afghan soldiers turn their weapons on their allies.