Eating field rations and getting his shut-eye in a military-issue sleeping bag, Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik experienced for himself how his country's troops are faring in Afghanistan. On a secret visit to soldiers in the southern province of Helmand, the royal fulfilled a long-standing wish to see conditions in the war zone. With his wife Mary at home in Copenhagen caring for their two small children, the heir to the Danish throne toured two bases where he heard from some of the 690 soldiers the Scandinavian country has stationed on the front line. A trained officer, who spent much of his early career in the military, Frederik could empathise more than most with the men's situation. He served in the infantry regiment of the Royal Life Guards and the Royal Frogmen Corps, an elite special forces unit within the Danish navy.