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Prince Harry a skydiving ‘natural’, reveals Paras display team

Prince Charles joined hundreds of families, friends and old soldiers at a military barracks in Colchester.

Prince Harry has been skydiving with the Army’s Red Devils display team, learning how to land with precision – and has been hailed a “natural”.

Harry joined up with the famous flying Paras and was taught how to drop out of the clouds with the group, which performs across the country.

The prince’s exploits came to light when the Prince of Wales celebrated his 40th anniversary as Colonel-in-Chief of the Parachute Regiment by watching a Red Devils display, at a barracks in Colchester with hundreds of the soldiers’ families and friends.

As the seven-man team, all serving Paras, trailed red smoke as they hurtled to the ground, their commanding officer Captain Joe Palmer told the crowds that the regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief’s youngest son had been skydiving and “he’s a natural”.

Later, a spokesman for the Red Devils said: “The prince joined us about five years ago, when he did the same as everyone else where you learn the basic course and you jump with a couple of instructors. He picked it up quickly.”

He said he believed it was Harry’s first jump and he mastered the two elements of skydiving, “freefall handling” where a person is dropping through the air, and getting to grips with canopy, once the parachute is open.

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( John Stillwell/PA)

Wearing his tropical service dress and the Paras beret, the heir to the throne later gave a speech on the parade ground and described how he had learned to parachute jump.

He said: “When I was appointed to the position (of Colonel-in-Chief), I felt I couldn’t look your predecessors in the eye, or even dream of wearing the red beret, without doing the parachute course. This freed the cat among the proverbial pigeon, but in the end I was allowed to join parachute training course 841A at Brize Norton.

“In those days, you started by having to jump out of a creaking basked suspended below a balloon. This was particularly testing on the nerves as it was like jumping deliberately out of a doorway at the top of an 800ft building, with the anchoring cable disappearing, usually, into a layer of cloud that obscured the ground.”

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To mark the 40th anniversary of the prince’s association with the Parachute Regiment he watched a march-past of its four Battalions, inspected the men on parade and presented awards to some of the regiment’s long-serving members.

Before leaving he was shown displays of some of the equipment used by the soldiers and took the wheel of a Jackal armoured vehicle bristling with firepower.

The heir to the throne is known to own an Aston Martin DB6 sports car but he seemed at home driving the vehicle designed for war zones.

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From Belfast Telegraph