Prince Harry has been skydiving with the Army's famous Red Devils display team and is apparently a "natural", it has emerged.
The prince's exploits came to light as his father celebrated his 40th anniversary as colonel-in-chief of the Parachute Regiment, watching a Red Devils display at a barracks in Colchester with hundreds of the soldiers' families and friends to mark the occasion.
Prince Charles watched as a seven-man team, all serving Paras, demonstrated their prowess, trailing red smoke as they parachuted to the ground.
But it was their commanding officer, Captain Joe Palmer, who gave the game away, telling the crowd the colonel-in-chief's youngest son had been skydiving and "he's a natural".
Later, a spokesman for the Red Devils said: "The prince joined us about five years ago, when he did the same as everyone else where you learn the basic course and you jump with a couple of instructors. He picked it up quickly."
He said he believed it was Harry's first jump and he mastered the two elements of skydiving, "freefall handling" where a person is dropping through the air, and getting to grips with canopy, once the parachute is open.
Later Prince Charles spoke of his own parachute-jump training, addressing troops in a speech on the parade ground.
Clad in his tropical service dress and the Paras beret, the heir to the throne said: "When I was appointed to the position [of colonel-in-chief], I felt I couldn't look your predecessors in the eye, or even dream of wearing the red beret, without doing the parachute course."
"This freed the cat among the proverbial pigeon, but in the end I was allowed to join parachute training course 841A at Brize Norton," he said.
"In those days, you started by having to jump out of a creaking basked suspended below a balloon. This was particularly testing on the nerves as it was like jumping deliberately out of a doorway at the top of an 800ft building, with the anchoring cable disappearing, usually, into a layer of cloud that obscured the ground."
To mark the 40th anniversary of the prince's association with the Parachute Regiment he watched a march-past of its four Battalions, inspected the men on parade and presented awards to some of the regiment's long-serving members.
Before leaving he was shown displays of some of the equipment used by the soldiers and took the wheel of a Jackal armoured vehicle bristling with firepower.