RUMOURS surrounding Prince Harry's ambition to follow a military career at Sandhurst were fuelled last week when he led a parade of 48 military cadets at his Eton school.

Harry, third in line to the throne, was parade commander for last Tuesday's annual tattoo of Eton's Combined Cadet Force and has achieved the highest rank of Officer Cadet.

It was announced the 18-year-old would apply to Sandhurst military academy following confirmation from St James's Palace that he wants to be a career soldier.

He is likely to be a strong candidate for Sandhurst after distinguishing himself at Eton in the school's Combined Cadet Corps.

It has also been suggested that Prince William, 20, intends to join the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst's training course after he completes his degree at St Andrews University in 2005.

Both Harry and Prince William are now said to be searching for a regiment to sponsor applications to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Harry has not chosen a regiment yet but speculation has centred on the Welsh Guards.

The academy's Major Ian Park-Weir said the rumours were "pure speculation". He added if it was the case, the princes would gain admission to the Royal Military Academy solely on merit and they would face the usual selection process.