Prince Harry will take the first step towards a deployment in Iraq this week when he completes a two-day training course for members of 1 Mechanised Brigade.

The Operational Training and Advisory Group course teaches soldiers bound for Iraq how to forge friendly relations with the locals.

Harry’s squadron of the Blues and Royals, responsible for armored reconnaissance, is part of the brigade, which is due to be sent to Iraq later this year.

But while it is inevitable the brigade will require an armored reconnaissance capability, defense officials insisted it was not yet certain that Harry would be part of it.

“The decision as to whether he goes will have to be made in conjunction with his commanding officer, the chief of the general staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt and Buckingham Palace,” one official said.

More than 7,000 British troops are based in southern Iraq, about half of whom are expected to be withdrawn later this year.

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