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Cheeky Prince Harry vs dull brother Wills

By Robert Jobson, special to CNN
updated 6:40 PM EDT, Thu August 23, 2012
Prince Harry walks around a military base in Helmand province on his recent tour of duty in Afghanistan. His deployment meant he could step back from the public eye and live in contrast to his privileged upbringing. Prince Harry walks around a military base in Helmand province on his recent tour of duty in Afghanistan. His deployment meant he could step back from the public eye and live in contrast to his privileged upbringing.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Harry is a showman, a natural performer in front of the camera and a microphone
  • Like his mother, Diana, he is flawed and that makes him interesting
  • It's a very different story for brother Prince William, second in line to the throne
  • Will perfectly fits bill as future King - he speaks well and conducts himself with aplomb

Editor's note: Robert Jobson is an award-winning royal correspondent and author of William & Kate: The Love Story and Harry's War (biog of Prince Harry), both published by John Blake.

London (CNN) -- I was standing just a few meters from Prince Harry as he got to his feet. His older brother Prince William was there too. But this was Harry's show -- a charity mission to Maseru, the capital of the poverty-stricken African Kingdom of Lesotho where the prince had established a charity Sentebale, to aid the country's vulnerable children. It was a mission, back in June 2010, and one of which the younger prince is rightly proud.

Within seconds of starting his speech, however, Harry couldn't resist a playful swipe at his older brother. Yet again, the third in line to the throne, who proudly boasts a healthy mop of red hair, mocked William's receding hairline.

It is a running joke -- but this time William clearly thought it had been cracked once too often. He lent back against the wall, raised his eyes skywards in genuine frustration but said nothing. Prince Harry was once again playing for laughs. Predictably, at his brother's expense, he got them. William, not for the first time, simply suffered in silence.

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That incident sums the pair up perfectly. Harry is a showman, a natural performer in front of the camera and a microphone. He is warm, naughty, an extrovert and has a sense of fun. As a result people warm to him.

Like his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, he is flawed and that makes him interesting. People love his madcap ways and seem able to forgive him when he gets it wrong.

He has worn a Nazi uniform, been exposed for taking drugs and boozing and making racist comments. Yet we forgive him time after time. Now his naked romp in the sin capital of the world, Las Vegas, has heaped further embarrassment on the Royal Family. But the chances are it will blow over and we will fall in love with this princely rogue again.

The reason for this maybe rooted in the fact that deep down the British public -- who after all fund his security and at least part of his lifestyle -- know unless there is a major disaster he won't actually get his hands of the Crown Jewels. He can have all the fame and wealth, but in truth very little of the responsibility.

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For Prince William, as second in line to the throne, his future is very different and he knows it. He cannot let his hair down in public -- if the future King was exposed doing what Harry was snapped doing, it would raise serious questions about his suitability to one day be Britain's Head of State, a position gifted to him by birthright.

When they were boys Diana often confided to friends that she thought Harry would make a good King. He, she thought, had a better temperament for the top job. She even gave him the nickname GKH for "Good King Harry." William, always shy and less outgoing than Harry, was more introspective, weighed down perhaps by expectation.

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It was Harry who frustrated his protection officers by crashing royal cars into walls on the private estates and on one occasion wondering off into a public high street with a police radio for the hell of it. William was always more careful, conscious perhaps that it would be his head that would one day wear the Crown.

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But as an adult William has grown into his role perfectly. He fits the bill as a future King perfectly. He speaks well, conducts himself with aplomb on and off duty. Since his marriage to his university sweetheart, Kate Middleton now HRH Duchess of Cambridge, if anything he has grown in confidence and composure.

The pair look every inch a future King and Queen, and the modern monarchy safe in their hands. When they go to nightclubs -- which they do -- there is never a hint of louche behavior or scandal. They have a few drinks and go home. It may be a little dull, maybe even predictable, but it is what is expected of them. He is after all a senior royal not a celebrity.

Since his marriage last year, William has been seen less and less on the clubbing scene, preferring instead to have a quiet night in or dinner at an Italian restaurant with his wife. This has led to Harry saying his brother has become boring. But nothing could be further from the truth.

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William, may not have served on the frontline like Apache pilot Harry, but he risks his personal safety every time he pilots his RAF Search and Rescue helicopter from RAF Valley in North Wales. He only recently was in charge of a daring rescue of a teenage girl.

He combines these duties with official tours abroad and does so tirelessly, sometimes completing engagements at a hospital or charity venue after a 24 hour shift on duty.

Harry is clearly a good soldier. He served with distinction as a Troop commander in Afghanistan before an internet leak that he was there forced him to return early from his tour of duty. He will no doubt soon be returning there as an Apache pilot and again, I have no doubt, serve his country well.

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Perhaps this latest naked controversy will focus his mind. Perhaps it will force this "Peter Pan" Prince to grow up and leave his schoolboy antics behind. The next time he goes to poke fun at his older, more cautious brother, he might just hold his tongue.

For surely now is the time for him to wise up and follow Prince William's example.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Robert Jobson

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