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Friends of Prince Harry have denied reports that he will quit the Army if he is not allowed to serve in Iraq.
But they admitted he would be "very disappointed" to miss out, the BBC's royal correspondent has been told.
The Ministry of Defence is reviewing Harry's deployment after 11 UK troops were killed this month, one of the bloodiest since the conflict began.
Prime Minister Tony Blair has told reporters he would be "delighted" if his child wanted to serve in Iraq.
However, he also insisted Harry's future was "absolutely a matter for the military".
The MoD said the matter had always been under "constant consideration", and the final say will lie with head of the Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt.
But Sir John Nott, Conservative defence secretary during the Falklands War, told BBC News: "The danger is that Prince Harry will be hazarding the lives of other soldiers and young officers and I think that's not right."
Harry would struggle with any decision, on the grounds of safety, to change his role and perhaps put him behind a desk
Harry, 22, is currently set to go to Iraq within weeks and has been taking part in preparation exercises.
An MoD spokeswoman said: "It is still our intent that Prince Harry will deploy as a troop leader."
Originally posted by Dr Love
I wouldn't want him in my unit that's for sure. You have to question someone's judgement who shows up at a party dressed like a nazi. He's not the sharpest tool in the shed.
Originally posted by bodrulwhy not? hes no more valuble then any other man/woman serving out there