FOR most meeting Prince Harry is a rare and memorable event.

But for Captain Simon Beattie, of Colchester, it was an everyday occurance as took charge of the royal for hundreds of missions in Afghanistan.

Apache pilot Capt Beattie, 30, flew side-by-side with the prince during their latest tour of Helmand Province. Despite being in command of Prince Harry, Capt Beattie, said the pair just got on with their jobs and the prince had been to dinner at his Colchester home.

Prince Harry served as an Apache helicopter pilot and gunner with 662 Sqd Army Air Corps, from September 2012 for four months until January 2013.

Capt Beattie said: "I'm the flight lead.

"If I need to make a decision, that's that.

"But we work well together as a team, and that's how it is."

Despite technically being his boss, Capt Beattie said he could count the royal as a good friend since they met a year ago.

He said: "Third-in-line to the throne aside, I consider him to be a friend and I enjoy working with him.

"Day-to-day you don't notice the difference. He's one of the guys."


For the full story and more pictures see Wednesday's Gazette.