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Prince Harry in front of his Apache helicopter, April 17, 2011 (Rex Features via AP Images)

As promised, there was no public fanfare to mark Prince Harry’s arrival at El Centro Air Force Base at the end of last week.

He is reported to have arrived there on Thursday, but the party-loving prince has already made a splash at some “local” restaurants and night spots.

There’s a bit of a drive involved for the kind of partying Harry’s used to.

“We don’t have places for him to cruise around,” nearby resident Jesus Gonzalez is quoted by the Telegraph. “He’s going to get bored. I would recommend the mall.”

On Friday, Captain Harry Wales, as he’s called in the military, and a group of his training buddies, accompanied by the Prince’s security detail, drove 120 miles from the base to go to a bar, McP’s Irish Pub, on Coronado Island. They ordered burgers and watched rugby, as others there realized they were in the presence of a royal.

“Harry and his friends were really nice,” said Leah Bentley, the waitress who served them. “I bantered with him and tried to treat him like any other customer. He and his friends were very good-looking and were nice tippers.”

‘He didn’t flirt with me,” she told the Daily Mail, “but I wouldn’t have minded if he had.”

A couple about to get married asked Harry whether he’d pose with them for a picture. Harry declined but took a photo of the affianced duo with one of his security guards.

The groom, Victor Swircz, tweeted: “Seriously I’m not joking. I just met Prince Harry and shook his hand @ McP’s in Coronado!!”

On Saturday night, the local NBC station reported, Harry partied at a nightclub at the Andaz Hotel in downtown San Diego.

In other royal-related news:

• Has the Queen nixed the Duchess of Cambridge‘s Vogue coverE! Online says she didn’t have to — Kate already knew that her Her Royal Highness would disapprove.

“Kate is keenly conscious that while her new grandmother-in-law may not chide her for appearing on a Vogue cover,” E! quotes “a palace source” as saying. “But she would definitely not be amused, and Her Majesty is a real genius at making people squirm with simply a look or a ‘tut, tut.’”

There appeared to be some good news for our colleagues at the BBC in the UK, at least according to the source, who is, said E! “close to the swanky sitch.” (That’s their phrase — just making sure the attribution is clear.)

“To be brutally honest, a request to sit down with The Times, the BBC or one of the major American networks to discuss the monarchy in general is one thing,” said the source. “For Kate to be photographed draped in the latest creation of a couture house to, knowingly or otherwise, self-promote her status as some sort of fashion horse is something quite different. I’d say Architectural Digest might have stood a better chance.”

• Perhaps you missed the 150th anniversary of the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe last week. Prince Philip didn’t.

Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions, originating some time before the sixth century B.C. in ancient Persia (today, Iran). It is perhaps most notable for its famous separation of good and evil spiritual forces.

Prince Philip addressed the Zoroastrian Center in Harrow, where he praised the “tremendous contribution the Zoroastrians have made to this country even before 150 years ago.”

Zoroastrianism was at various points in history the world’s largest religion, though today it is one of the smallest.

“I have to say 150 years is peanuts really,” said Prince Philip, “but I hope you are still here in 2000 years time.” (via the Harrow Times)

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By Paul Hechinger