Prince Harry was allowed to leave his Apache helicopter base on “urgent palace business” when it was put in lockdown for a random drugs test, it has been claimed. RAF Wittisham in Suffolk was reportedly secured by armed guards in May 2011 when the drug testers arrived unannounced.
But Harry – who has admitted to taking cannabis, cocaine and magic mushrooms in the past in his bombshell memoir – was given permission to leave for London as his comrades were ordered to give urine samples, The Sun reports.
Harry’s team reportedly said the royal, who had recently returned from Prince William and Kate’s wedding, had “urgent palace business”.
There is no suggestion that the Duke of Sussex deliberately avoided the test or took any drugs while in the Armed Forces.
Harry was with 656 Squadron, 4 Regiment Army Air Corps at the time. He is thought to be the only one not tested on the base.
His former Squadron Sergeant Major Mark “Oz” Wilson, who was in charge of squadron discipline, said: “I couldn’t believe Harry was allowed to leave.”
An Army source said Harry’s departure “would have looked very strange to his comrades”.
But they added: “You can’t expect soldiers and sergeant majors to be aware of the diary pressures on the third in line to the throne.”
A Ministry of Defence Spokesperson said: “Every member of the Armed Forces is subject to compulsory drugs testing. We do not comment on individuals.”
A representative for the Duke has been contacted for comment.
It comes as Harry, who now lives in the US with Meghan Markle after quitting royal duties in 2020, has opened up about his past drug use in his new book Spare.
In a teaser of his interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby to promote the memoir, the journalist puts it to him: “There’s a fair amount of drugs, marijuana, magic mushrooms, cocaine. I mean that’s going to surprise people.”
Harry replies: “But important to acknowledge.”
In the tome, Harry said he had “taken cocaine” during a shooting weekend by the summer of 2002 when he was 17 and did “a few more lines” on other occasions.
The 38-year-old wrote that it was not “fun and it did not make me feel as happy as it seemed to make others but it did make me feel different and that was my main goal. To feel. To be different”.
He added: “I was a 17-year-old willing to try almost anything that would upset the established order. At least that was what I was trying to convince myself of.”
Harry also said he went to California with friends in January 2016, aged 31, and got drunk on tequila and took magic mushrooms.
The book was due out next Tuesday but the Spanish-language version was released five days early in some bookshops in Spain in a major blunder.