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Princes In Low-Key Role As Queen Steps Out

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II performs the opening ceremony for the new Terminal 5 at London's Heathrow Airport, Friday March 14, 2008
AP Photo/Paul Grover
Britain's Queen Elizabeth took center stage Friday, opening a new terminal at London's Heathrow airport, but it's her two grandsons everyone is talking about.

When last seen, Prince Harry was returning from a secret tour of duty in Afghanistan. Whatever battles he fought in his 10 weeks there, he won the public relations war and came home proclaimed a hero

But as Harry has modestly pointed out, "I wouldn't say I'm a hero at all. I'm no more a hero than anyone else. If you think about it, there's thousands and thousands of troops out there."


Photos: Royals Visit Caribbean
Now that he has conquered his image as a boozing playboy prince, he's disappeared off to Africa and out of temptation's way. Far away from most of the prying lenses, Harry and longtime girlfriend Chelsy Davy are cruising the swamps of Botswana.

2"Harry has spoken of his love of Africa and all the signs are that they are having a very happy reunion," Patrick Jephson, Princess Diana's former equerry, said Friday morning on The Early Show.

This is something Harry has in common with his girlfriend of three years, who grew up in Zimbabwe. The two have taken many exotic vacations there in the past.


Photos: Harry At War
Another royal romance with a suddenly lower profile is that of Harry's older brother, Prince William, and his on-off girlfriend Kate Middleton, who were last photographed together in October after a long night on the town.

3They're busy with their careers, officials have said. A target of the papparazzi, Middleton is learning how to become a photographer. The prince is learning how to fly.

It is rumored that they may be looking at real estate.

"In fact, they were spotted recently allegedly looking at a townhouse in a very nice part of London, in Chelsea," said Jephson. "So it's absolutely fair to assume that the relationship after last year's rocky patch is set fair.


Photos: Wills Wings It
Neil Sean, a celebrity columnist in the UK, sees it as a "breaking of royal protocol."

He told The Early Show, "Kate Middleton basically wants to be a different sort of royal wife. She doesn't want to be sort of surrounded by all these courtiers and flunkies, that sort of thing. She definitely wants a different life. He seems to want to go along with it, simply because, of course, like every good woman, she can control her man. Even though he may be the future king of England."

Sean says he is 100 percent certain this romance will end in marriage.

"I know for a fact that Prince William is very much in love with Middleton," he said. "I think the break did them good simply because of the fact that she's a little older. Girls are always more mature. She knew exactly where she was going with this relationship, pulled out at the right time and came back at the right time."

As for Prince William's military career, Sean said the prince wants to be deployed overseas but that may not be possible.

"I know for a fact that he wants to go out and serve his country," Sean said, but logistics may make that impossible. William is secondd in line for the throne after his father, the Prince of Wales.

"For Prince Wlliam, the security would be a lot tighter and harder," Sean said.

Meanwhile, it was a busy day for the queen who had ceremonial duties Friday at the world's busiest airport.

Environmental campaigners have long protested against the airport's expansion, CBS News correspondent Sheila MacVicar reports. But the airport's owners argued successfully that with 67 million passenger journeys last year, the existing terminals were working beyond capacity.

The new terminal will handle up to 30 million people every year, easing the burden on the other terminals, which are slated for refurbishing.

The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, toured the new facility under heavy security less than 24 hours after a man with a backpack scaled a Heathrow fence and ran onto an active runway, briefly impairing flight operations. Police determined there were no explosives in the bag.

"This is a 21st century gateway for Britain," said the queen, who praised the new building as "environmentally responsible."

The queen, wearing a festive red hat, was met by executives from British Airways and airport operator BAA at the start of an extensive visit to the new facility, completed after more than five years of construction at a cost of $8.6 billion.

It wasn't the 81-year-old queen's first engagement at the airport; she cut the ribbon in 1955 to open the first terminal there.

The monarch's decision to open Terminal 5 personally just as she opened the first passenger terminal, reflects the importance of the new building, which officials believe will reverse the airport's reputation as a rundown, overcrowded facility. Flight operations begin March 27.