Prince Harry reports for Aussie duty

The British army captain better known as Prince Harry is getting on with becoming just another Australian soldier.

AKA Captain Wales, the royal recruit paid tribute to diggers who served in Afghanistan before he reported for duty at Duntroon Military College on Monday, at the start of a much anticipated month-long secondment with the Australian Army.

Although he'll wear his British Army uniform during his secondment, Harry will fall under the command of the Australian Army while attached to units in Darwin, Perth and Sydney.

He will train with special forces and patrol with Aboriginal soldiers as one of the last duties of his 10-year military career before he retires from the British Army in June.

After saluting his new boss, Harry delivered a letter to Australia's defence chief Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin from the Queen, who wrote it was appropriate her grandson's visit comes at a time when Australia and the UK are jointly commemorating the sacrifices made a century ago.

"It is fitting that we can also reflect on the strength and persistence today of those common values and our professional military ties," she wrote.

The Queen also said she knew Captain Wales would "benefit greatly from spending time with the Australian diggers".

Harry will break his secondment briefly to represent the royal family at Anzac Day commemorations in Gallipoli, along with his father Prince Charles.

More than a thousand royal watchers waited in the rain outside the Australian War Memorial in Canberra to catch a glimpse of the prince on his only public appearance during his secondment.

He waved away an umbrella and spent about 20 minutes greeting well-wishers as the crowd chanted his name.

Ginger-haired Ethan Toscan attracted the prince's attention with a placard that proudly proclaimed: "Red heads rule!"

It earned him a high-five and a hand-shake from Harry.

"He said that I was fabulous in making the sign and it's awesome to be a redhead," the 12-year-old told AAP.

"I'm over the moon - it's just wow! I got to shake his hand!"

Earlier, Harry, dressed in a white and black ceremonial uniform, laid a wreath of Australian natives and yellow flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

To the strains of the Last Post he saluted the fallen digger and observed a minute's silence with the memorial's director Brendan Nelson, chairman Rear Admiral Ken Doolan and Chief of the Defence Force Mark Binskin.

While inspecting the names of Australia's war dead, Harry made a special stop at the bronze panel for those who died while serving in Afghanistan, where he has been deployed twice.

Dr Nelson presented him with a wooden box from the Lone Pine tree's descendant that grows on the memorial's grounds, explaining how an Australian soldier sent a pine cone back home from the Turkish trenches.

"It's incredible," Harry replied.

He was also given commemorative medallions struck for the centenary of Gallipoli, an Australian War Memorial cap and country singer Lee Kernaghan's album, Spirit of the Anzacs.

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