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Queen backs Prince over Harry

To be treated just the same: But all over the tabloid front pages  

LONDON, England -- The Queen has backed the way Prince Charles reacted to his son Prince Harry's cannabis smoking and underage drinking.

As police refused to rule out taking action against the 17-year-old royal, Buckingham Palace said the monarch supported the way Charles had handled the episode.

"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," the palace said. Europe
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"She hopes the matter can now be considered as closed."

Charles sent Harry on a visit to a drug rehabilitation clinic to alert him to the risks involved after discovering he had taken drugs at Highgrove and at private parties, and allegedly drank alcohol at the Rattlebone Inn, Sherston, Wiltshire, western England.

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Marijuana is illegal in Britain, and the drinking age is 18.

Police said Harry, now back at school at Eton, would be treated "exactly the same way" as any other youngsters.

But that was not reflected in Britain's tabloid newspapers with Harry's image dominating the front pages.

"I didn't get Harry on drugs," says a huge headline in the The Mirror over a story quoting the young prince's friend, agriculture student Guy Pelly, 19.

Pelly, described in a headline as as "a twit, wealthy but not in the brains department, he acts the age he looks... twelve" is branded "an attention seeker" in the paper by friends.

Pelly, studying at the Royal Agricultural College near Cirencester, western England, reportedly told The Mirror: "It's got nothing to do with me. Look, I don't know what you're on about."

But under a huge picture of the prince and Pelly captioned "Harry and his potty pal" The Sun says: "Prince Harry roars with laughter as he is pictured for the first time with Guy Pelly, the pal said to have given him pot."

A story inside the paper headlined "Harry cabs service" asserts: "Prince Harry got his police bodyguards to provide a taxi service for pals after drinking sessions at his favourite country pub."

The Daily Express under a headline "My son is a scapegoat insists angry dad," quotes the father of another friend, James Mulholland, who was linked with the episodes. John Mulholland accuses royal advisers of using his son as a scapegoat.

Meanwhile, Britain's Home Secretary David Blunkett also backed the way Prince Charles had reacted.

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  

Blunkett, who was taking part in an event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a drugs project in Westminster, said it had been an extremely difficult situation. He added it was very difficult for young people to inform on friends dabbling with drugs and drink.

He said: "I was going to burst into song -- I had better not. I was going to sing I'm just Wild About Harry."

He continued: "We are very sorry both for the young man who is finding his feet under the spotlight in very difficult circumstances and for his family, and his father and brother.

"I'm sure all of us would agree that it was handled extremely well.

"I'm very pleased they have been able to take the necessary steps before the publicity arose to sort out Harry's life.

"I have three sons, all over 16, and I did pray and I think we all pray about them. We all do our best.

"I commend the Prince of Wales for the way in which he, as a father, has handled the situation."

Harry's headmaster at Eton College, John Lewis, said the prince's case already had been dealt with.


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• Palace: UK prince smoked cannabis
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