LONDON – Prince Charles took his youngest son Harry to a rehabilitation clinic to show him the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, after the young prince admitted having smoked marijuana and getting drunk, a Sunday newspaper reported.
St. James's Palace, the official residence of Prince Charles, said the matter was now closed.
"This was a serious matter which was resolved within the family and is now in the past and closed," a spokesman said Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
According to the News of the World, Charles made the decision after discovering the 17-year-old prince had used marijuana and had also been drinking at a pub near Charles' Highgrove country estate in western England.
Marijuana use is illegal in Britain and the legal drinking age is 18. Harry was 16 when he confessed to his father last summer, the newspaper reported.
There was no suggestion Harry needed treatment at the center, but merely chatted with addicts during a daylong visit to learn about the dangers of drugs.
The newspaper said Harry experimented with marijuana over a two month period at Highgrove, in a rundown shed at a nearby pub and at private parties held by friends.
Charles was often away on business and Harry's brother Prince William was away traveling on a "gap" year between leaving school and starting university, the newspaper said.
Charles was alerted to his son's behavior by a Highgrove member of staff, who noticed a strong smell of marijuana, the newspaper reported.
He took swift action, confronted the young prince and took him to a drug rehabilitation center in south London, where he spent a day talking with addicts.
He has not used drugs since, the newspaper said, quoting an unidentified family friend.
Charles was himself once involved in an infamous underage drinking episode. He was 14 when, during a school sailing trip in Scotland he and four other boys were given permission to dock at a remote island.
Charles led the boys to a public bar, where he ordered a cherry brandy.
The incident attracted international attention. Buckingham Palace staff furiously denied the incident, before admitting it. Charles has since said the words cherry brandy make him wince.
Several British newspapers, including the Sunday Mirror, The Mail on Sunday and the Sunday People tabloids, also carried reports about Harry's alleged underage drinking at the pub near Highgrove.