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Prince Harry makes unusually 'political' statement on defence budget cuts at his former army training base

Royals don't do politics.

Or at least, they're not meant to.

And it would be wrong to say that Prince Harry chose to criticise government policy on defence today.

But it was unusual to hear him reference defence cuts on an official engagement.

Harry was presenting Wings to the latest set of graduates at the army base in Hampshire where he himself did his advanced helicopter training.

Prince Harry with some of the graduates. Credit: PA

After talking to the graduates and their families about his experience of flying Apache helicopters, the prince said: "You're now going to end up flying some of the best aircraft that we have to offer. In certain areas budgets are being shrunk."

That's not an outright criticism but it was a deliberate statement.

It was interpreted here as a message of support for his former colleagues as the government looks to make further savings in defence.

This was the last Wings Parade at the Middle Wallop air base where Harry received his own Wings from his father, the Prince of Wales, in 2010.

Prince Harry receives his helicopter pilot's wings from his father, Prince Charles at Middle Wallop in 2010. Credit: PA

Part of the training is being moved from Middle Wallop to RAF Shawbury in Shropshire.

The British military currently has flying units in all three services: the RAF, the Fleet Air Arm and the Army Air Corps.

But there are some deeply held concerns within the Army Air Corps that it could be facing a possible merger with the RAF.