As part of his military service Prince William has received a new posting. Members of the British Royal Family are often seen in uniform but it is mainly the younger members who have seen some active service.This week it was announced that he would serve a brief tour in the Falklands. It is part of his search and rescue training. The tour is scheduled to commence in February 2012 and to last 6-weeks.
Within a short time of the announcement being made Argentina issued a statement. A senior Argentinian military official said, ‘It is impossible to ignore the political aspect of this military operation bearing in mind that the Prince forms part of the Royal Family. This is another provocative act by Great Britain with its military presence in a peaceful zone where there is no armed conflict.’
The Falklands is in the eyes of Argentina disputed territory. It has been classed by Great Britain as a sovereign British territory since 1833. Located so far from the UK it is obviously not British soil, in a true sense of the words. However its strategic usefulness means that Britain will be loathe to surrender sovereignty.
A Conservative MP said ‘For the life of me, I cannot understand why this is provocative. It is certainly not as provocative as invading the Falkland Islands in 1982. ‘It completely escapes me why any foreign government would consider the movements of Prince William to be any of their business.’ It seems that at least one Labour politician agrees. Jim Murphy said: ‘It is for the UK and UK only to decide which Forces to send overseas, when and where.’
The consensus by politicians is that it is British soil due to the Falkands sovereignty.
The decision to post Prince William in the Falklands, albeit for a short time, has sparked some extreme responses. One Argentinian website posted a comment which said, "‘die frozen in the sea, like our heroes from the cruiser General Belgrano’ – a reference to the Argentine ship sunk in the war."
It seems that the Falklands conflict may be old news in the UK but the scars are still raw in parts of Argentina. Although it may be hard for us to understand why this military posting is provocative, as usual it is all about perception. To some Argentinian people it obviously is.