Prince Harry is due back from Afghanistan this week. And to celebrate the news of the royal's homecoming, a series of chats which took place during his second deployment to the war-torn country have been released.
In the series of interviews – the most detailed and revealing he has ever given – which were put together by James Edgar for Press Assosiation, the soldier Prince speaks for the first time about Las Vegas, his joy on discovering he is to be an uncle, and gives a fascinating insight into his bond with his father Prince Charles and brother Prince William.
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During his 20-week deployment, the Prince received no special treatment, and was sent on all manner of missions over Helmand Province in Southern Afghanistan. Now he is safely on his way back home, it can be revealed he took Taliban insurgents "out of the game" during his posting.
"Take a life to save a life, that's what we revolve around, I suppose," he explained. "if there's people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take them out of the game, I suppose."
He also admits he "let my family down" with respect to the compromising pictures which surfaced of the royal in Las Vegas and speaks about his views on settling down.
The 28-year-old army captain was in Afghanistan when news broke that Prince William and Kate Middleton were expecting their first child. In Helmand Province, about ten days after the announcement, Harry said "I can't wait to be an uncle." And that he was "thrilled for both of them." He added, jokingly: "It's about time."
Asked if he had telephoned the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to congratulate them from Afghanistan, he said: "Of course I have. I had a chat to them." But he put paid to press reports that he had written to them. "I didn't send a letter of congratulation like most of the papers said. How any of the papers think that they know the relationship between myself and my sister-in-law is quite remarkable. I spoke to my brother and her, and they're both very well and both very happy obviously."
Prince Harry, who will become fourth-in-line to the throne when the new baby is born in July, added: "I think it's very unfair that they were forced to publicise it when they were… And I literally am very very happy for them, but I just only hope that she and him - but mainly Catherine - hopefully that she gets the necessary protection to allow her as a mother-to-be to enjoy the privacy that that comes with it.
Asked if there was pressure on him to find a girlfriend and settle down like his older brother, he said: "I don't think you can ever be urged to settle down. If you find the right person and everything feels right, then it takes time, especially for myself and my brother."
The Apache Helicopter Pilot said William – who is an RAF Search and Rescue Pilot would be keen to join him in Afghanistan. "I think there is a bit of jealousy, not just the fact that I get to fly this, but obviously he'd love to be out here. And to be honest with you, I don't see why he couldn't… People back home will have issues with that, but we're not special. The guys out there are. Simple as that."
He said the sibling rivalry
works both ways, but they are both proud of what they do. "Before coming out here I was very jealous of my brother," he admitted. "It's operational flying back home. You get all the luxuries of operational flying - the pride, as you call it - and the reward of basically in his case saving people's lives, which is exactly what we try and do as well. And back home he gets to go home to his wife and his dog, whereas out here we don't. We're stuck playing PlayStation in a tent full of men."
The young royal described his deployment with 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps as "as normal as it gets". Putting on his army uniform and serving on the front line saw him disappearing from the public eye, just weeks after he had hit headlines around the world with his partying antics in Las Vegas
Speaking about the compromising pictures for the first time, he said: "At the end of the day I probably let myself down, I let my family down, I let other people down.
But at the end of the day I was in a private area and there should be a certain amount of privacy that one should expect. Back home all my close friends rallied round me and were great."
He added: "But it was probably a classic example of me probably being too much army, and not enough Prince. It's a simple case of that."
Harry, known as Captain Wales to his fellow servicemen, revealed he gets regular nudges from his father reminding him to act more like a royal
. Prince Charles' younger son, who has been an army officer for six-and-a-half years, finds it easy to forget his blue-blooded origins when he's undertaking his army duties.
"My father's always trying to remind me about who I am and stuff like that," he admits "But it's very easy to forget about who I am when I am in the army. Everyone's wearing the same uniform and doing the same kind of thing."
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