Prince William has been deployed to the Falkland Islands as part of a four-man search and rescue crew, in a move that has angered Argentina’s politicians.
The prince’s deployment to the region will last six weeks (thankfully, Kate Middleton has a new friend to keep her company back at home), and comes after weeks of heated rhetoric between the British and Argentinian governments.
Once he has undergone briefings and a familiarization flight, William will begin his Royal Air Force search and rescue duties. The British Ministry of Defence confirmed the heir to the throne was not in the Falklands as a royal. A statement from the ministry read:
“Flight Lieutenant Wales will be deploying purely in an RAF role and will not be completing any ceremonial roles as the Duke of Cambridge.”
Argentina’s foreign ministry was quick to criticize Britain over what it saw as a further act of provocation:
“Prince William is coming … as a member of the armed forces of his country. The Argentinian people regret that the royal heir is coming to the soil of the homeland with the uniform of the conqueror and not with the wisdom of a statesman who works in the service of peace and dialogue between nations.”
Argentina invaded the Falklands in 1982, resulting in a war that cost 600 Argentinian and 255 British lives. Britain retained control of the islands after the conflict, but now some Argentinian officials are making new claims to the islands, known as the Malvinas in Argentina. Since then, the UK government has announced plans to deploy the destroyer HMS Dauntless to the region.
While the Falkland Islands may be small – as of 2010, around 2,500 people live there – the region is rich in natural resources such as oil and fish.