Skip to main content /WORLD /WORLD

Police could act on Prince Harry

Harry was back at Eton college on Monday  

ETON, England -- British police have refused to rule out taking action against Prince Harry over his cannabis smoking and underage drinking.

The 17-year-old prince would be treated "exactly the same way" as any other youngster following the revelations, said Superintendent Mandy Evely of Wiltshire police force, western England.

"One of the newspapers have said they have some sort of dossier of evidence against him," Evely told the UK's Press Association news agency.

"We will be looking at that and if there is any evidence on which we can act, then of course we will do that. We need to see what evidence they do have."

The licensees of the pub at the centre of the prince's underage drinking would also be investigated.

Prince Harry's rehab visit 

Prince faced 'every parent's nightmare' 
What action should police take against Britain's Prince Harry?

He should be charged
He should be cautioned
No action
View Results


Evely added: "We need to see exactly what the evidence is against the licensees who were there at the time. If there is evidence we may take some action," she said.

A spokesman for the British Home Office said that for under age drinking a 16-year old could be given a formal or informal caution, or if this was accompanied by anti-social behaviour, stronger action could be taken including supervision orders. There could also be a decision to take no action at all.

But he told CNN any action would be at the discretion of the police and would depend on the circumstances of the case.

The possession of cannabis is an offence in Britain which could carry a two year jail sentence, though the government is pressing for it to be made a non-arrestable offence.

However a first time offender was more likely to get a caution or informal warning, depending on the circumstances, the Home Office spokesman said.

A spokesman for Wiltshire police said: "We can confirm that we have never been called to licensed premises in respect of incidents involving 'Prince Harry' and further that we are not in possession of any evidence that would justify us interviewing him.

"Whilst it would be inappropriate for the police to act on newspaper accounts which may not be corroborated and may even be sensationalised, we will of course consider and act, if appropriate, on any information provided."

Harry was back at Eton College on Monday after spending Sunday at his father's country residence, Highgrove, in Gloucestershire.

It was reported in the UK press that Harry could face a random urine check at Eton in future with the risk of expulsion if he tests positive for drugs. No one from the school was available for comment on Monday.

Charles sent his younger son to a drug rehabilitation clinic to warn him of the dangers after discovering he had taken drugs at Highgrove and at private parties, and allegedly drank alcohol at the Rattlebone Inn, Sherston, Wiltshire.

Prince Harry spent two hours visiting patients at Featherstone Lodge, in south London
Prince Harry spent two hours visiting patients at Featherstone Lodge, in south London  

A spokesman for St James's Palace, confirmed Harry had visited the Featherstone Lodge clinic in Peckham, south London, and added: "This is a serious matter which was resolved within the family, and is now in the past and closed."

Bill Puddicombe, chief executive of Phoenix House UK -- which runs Featherstone Lodge -- described to CNN details of Prince Harry's visit, which was made last summer.

He said: "We received a request from the Prince of Wales's office for Prince Harry to come and visit one of our rehabilitation centres.

"He came and visited for a couple of hours. Prince Charles was not with him. He spoke to the people who were there recovering from addiction from cocaine, heroin, other illicit drugs and alcohol.

"He learned a bit about the consequences of drug use, he heard about people's life stories and heard, I guess, some harrowing details of what had happened to them."

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II said on Monday that she was pleased with the way Prince Charles had handled the situation.

"The queen shares the Prince of Wales's views on the seriousness of Prince Harry's behaviour and supports the action which has been taken," Buckingham Palace said in a statement. "She hopes the matter can now be considered as closed."

The News of the World newspaper said Harry had experimented with marijuana over a two-month period at Highgrove, in a rundown shed at a nearby pub and at private parties with friends.

Prince Charles was alerted to his son's behaviour by a Highgrove staff member, who noticed a strong smell of marijuana, the newspaper reported.

Prince Charles is reported to have reacted straight away when he learned his son had tried cannabis, sending him to visit the rehab clinic to show him the dangers of drug abuse.

"The way we interpreted it was it was a piece of good, responsible parenting by Prince Charles," Puddicombe said.

And when he was 14, Prince Charles himself was at the centre of an infamous underage drinking episode after he entered a pub on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland.

He asked for a cherry brandy, saying later it was the first thing that came into his mind, but the incident attracted international attention.


• Prince faced 'every parent's nightmare'
January 13, 2002
• Diana butler sent for trial
January 10, 2002
• Royal row over William film crew
September 27, 2001
• Palace: UK prince smoked cannabis
January 13, 2002

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.


Back to the top