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Prince Harry is first British royal to reach South Pole

Prince Harry rolls the Union Jack on the first day of the Virgin Money South Pole Allied Challenge 2013 expedition in Antarctica on Dec 1, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS / VICTORIA NICHOLSON / WALKING WITH THE WOUNDED
Prince Harry rolls the Union Jack on the first day of the Virgin Money South Pole Allied Challenge 2013 expedition in Antarctica on Dec 1, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS / VICTORIA NICHOLSON / WALKING WITH THE WOUNDED
This handout picture received via a British Press Pool from the Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) charity on Nov 28, 2013, shows Britain's Prince Harry talking to Team Guide Conrad Dickinson (right) as equipment is unloaded from a plane at an undisclos
This handout picture received via a British Press Pool from the Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) charity on Nov 28, 2013, shows Britain's Prince Harry talking to Team Guide Conrad Dickinson (right) as equipment is unloaded from a plane at an undisclosed location during the Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
This handout picture received via a British Press Pool from the Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) charity on Nov 28, 2013, shows Britain's Prince Harry carrying equipment as supplies are unloaded at an undisclosed location during the Walking With The W
This handout picture received via a British Press Pool from the Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) charity on Nov 28, 2013, shows Britain's Prince Harry carrying equipment as supplies are unloaded at an undisclosed location during the Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
An undated handout photo issued by Walking with the Wounded (WWTW) on Nov 23, 2013, shows Britain's Prince Harry, patron of Team UK in the South Pole Allied Challenge 2013 expedition, taking part in ski training in Novo, Antarctica, ahead of a charit
An undated handout photo issued by Walking with the Wounded (WWTW) on Nov 23, 2013, shows Britain's Prince Harry, patron of Team UK in the South Pole Allied Challenge 2013 expedition, taking part in ski training in Novo, Antarctica, ahead of a charity walk to the South Pole. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP / WWTW
A handout photo received via a British Press Pool on Dec 3, 2013, by Walking with the Wounded (WWTW) shows Britain's Prince Harry, patron of Team UK in the South Pole Allied Challenge 2013 expedition, as he leads Team UK out of the starting blocks on
A handout photo received via a British Press Pool on Dec 3, 2013, by Walking with the Wounded (WWTW) shows Britain's Prince Harry, patron of Team UK in the South Pole Allied Challenge 2013 expedition, as he leads Team UK out of the starting blocks on day one of the challenge on Dec 1, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP / WWTW / VICTORIA NICHOLSON
This undated photo made available by Walking with the Wounded (WWTW) on Saturday, Dec 7, 2013, shows Britain's Prince Harry (right) during training near Novo, Antarctica, ahead of an Antarctic charity race. Prince Harry on Friday became the firs
This undated photo made available by Walking with the Wounded (WWTW) on Saturday, Dec 7, 2013, shows Britain's Prince Harry (right) during training near Novo, Antarctica, ahead of an Antarctic charity race. Prince Harry on Friday became the first member of Britain's royal family to reach the South Pole after a three-week charity trek with injured military veterans from Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

LONDON (AFP) - Prince Harry on Friday became the first member of Britain's royal family to reach the South Pole after a three-week charity trek with injured military veterans from Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia.

Prince Harry and the 12 servicemen and women reached the globe's most southerly point at 1200 GMT following a 200-mile (320km) journey across the frozen wastes of Antarctica, organisers Walking With The Wounded said.

The expedition was initially conceived as a race but it was abandoned due to concerns about the safety of the participants, some of whom lost limbs fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The teams decided to continue their trek, however, dragging 70kg sleds through the bitter cold and high winds.

Prince Harry, 29, who serves as an army helicopter pilot, joked earlier this week about the expected arrival date of Friday 13th, which he said was "unlucky for some, lucky for us".

"The wind has dropped down, which is nice. I think everyone is feeling a bit tired but slowly getting into the rhythm," the fourth-in-line to the throne said.

"Only just got into the rhythm now and it has almost finished."

The veterans have endured temperatures as low as minus 35 deg C and wind speeds of around 50 miles (80km) per hour.

The trek has been organised by Walking With The Wounded, a charity which raises funds to retrain injured troops and help them find new careers outside the military.

Prince Harry joined the charity for part of a trek to the North Pole in 2011, but had to come home early to be best man at his brother Prince William's wedding to the former Kate Middleton.

While Queen Elizabeth II's grandson is the first royal to reach the South Pole, Britain's monarchy has a number of links to the frozen continent.

The queen's husband Prince Philip crossed the Antarctic circle in 1957 on board the now-retired royal yacht Britannia while visiting a memorial cross to polar explorer Ernest Shackleton on the remote Atlantic island of South Georgia.

Prince Harry's aunt Princess Anne has twice visited Antarctica, most recently in 2007.

The queen herself had a huge chunk of Antarctica named after her in a gift from the British government to mark her diamond jubilee in 2012.

Queen Elizabeth Land is around 169,000 sq miles (437,000 sq km) in size, making up just under a third of British Antarctic Territory.