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George means 'pressure's off' Harry

Prince Harry has joked that the "pressure's off" now that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have made the Prince of Wales a proud grandfather.

With Harry apparently some years off from settling down, the birth last week of William and Kate's baby, Prince George, means the 28-year-old can remain single - for the time being. Harry joked about his family life as he opened a new £30 million Royal Navy centre which will boost Britain's amphibious fighting capabilities.

He travelled to the Devonport naval base in Plymouth to launch Royal Marines Tamar, where servicemen are taught a range of skills from handling hovercraft to staging beach landings. The new base is home to 1 Assault Group Royal Marines, which oversees amphibious warfare and Royal Navy board search and training.

After unveiling a plaque to open the centre, Harry chatted to Royal Marines of all ranks and their families in a new engineering hangar. He spoke to Tasha Reilly, 35, whose partner is Lieutenant Colonel Tristan Harris, 42, commanding officer of 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines, a unit which has relocated to Tamar. Ms Reilly said: "Harry was very down to earth. He said his father was over the moon to be a grandfather. I said 'No pressure' and he said 'No, now he's got one he'll be fine - pressure's off'."

During his visit to the new centre Harry, an Apache helicopter co-pilot gunner serving with the Army Air Corps (AAC), took the royal salute of 1 Assault Squadron Royal Marines and reviewed the servicemen.

The prince wore military uniform, the service dress of the Household Cavalry and his AAC beret, and when he first arrived joked with a group of dignitaries, who had patiently waited in blustery conditions to greet him, saying: "Typical British, we complain when it's too hot and we complain when it's too cold."

Harry, who made the visit in his role as Commodore-in-Chief Small Ships and Diving, also opened a training block called the Francis Building at the new Tamar centre, named in honour of decorated Royal Marine Colour Sergeant Michael James Francis.

Col Sgt Francis was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for calm selfless bravery during two separate dramatic incidents in the Falklands War while coxswain of a landing craft. The Royal Marine used his craft to rescue men from the vessel RFA Sir Galahad as bombs fell and continued helping survivors escape from the stricken ship despite the risk of a second raid.

And when HMS Antelope went up in flames after an unexploded bomb detonated, Col Sgt Francis used his craft to help with close range fire fighting. The 67-year-old Marine now suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and dementia and could not make the journey to Devonport but his wife Marie Francis, 68, from Kirton, Suffolk did and was joined by a daughter and six of her eight grandchildren.

Harry told Mrs Francis her husband was an "amazing man, truly remarkable" then joked that the green coloured training block was "an enormous building and the right colour the marines go crazy about," before adding a few minutes later "You must be very proud to have a building named after him".


From Belfast Telegraph