UK

Prince Harry 'longs for family time' on Afghanistan return

  • 23 January 2013
  • From the section UK

Prince Harry says he is "longing" to spend some time with his family after arriving back in Britain following his 20-week deployment in Afghanistan.

He said he had enjoyed "blue sky" and "a bit of comedy" during a period of "decompression" at a base in Cyprus.

Speaking at RAF Brize Norton, in Oxfordshire, he said he was hoping to "take on more royal stuff" in 2013.

Earlier this week he said he had shot at Taliban insurgents while an Apache helicopter co-pilot gunner.

Asked about the pregnancy of his sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, he told journalists: "I'm longing to see my brother and sister-in-law, as with any of the soldiers who've just come off the plane after four-and-half months away.

"I really am longing to catch up with people behind closed doors - you guys aren't invited."

The prince, who served in his first tour of Afghanistan in 2007/2008, said he was "really proud of the guys, the whole squadron and obviously everybody else out there".

"Everything seems to be going the right direction - it's very different from when I was last out there."

Of the rest of the year, he said "the Army will have an idea, I presume, and what that is I will do".

"Given the opportunity, I'd like to take on more royal stuff, to the extent that, pre-deployment, I've been very busy - hopefully there'll be a few gaps that open up."

Prince Harry arrives with comrades at RAF Brize Norton
Prince Harry arrived with comrades on a regular personnel flight

The prince, who will be on leave for four or five weeks, said he hoped to "pay some more attention to the charities".

On newspaper headlines earlier in the week suggesting he had killed Taliban insurgents, he said: "You get asked to do things that you would expect to do wearing this uniform - that's as simple as that, really."

The prince, who flew into Oxfordshire on a regular personnel flight, is expected to travel with his comrades in the 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment, Army Air Corps to their headquarters in Suffolk.

In an interview released on Monday after he had left Afghanistan, Prince Harry admitted he had "let my family down" when he was pictured naked in a Las Vegas hotel room last year.

He said it was "probably a classic example of me probably being too much Army and not enough prince."

But he added: "But at the end of the day I was in a private area and there should have been a certain amount of privacy that one should expect."

Prince Harry is the first member of the Royal Family to take part in combat since his uncle, the Duke of York, fought in the Falklands War.

Captain Wales, as he is known in the military, arrived for his second tour of Afghanistan in September.

Within days of arriving, Camp Bastion was attacked by Taliban insurgents. Prince Harry was moved under guard to a secure location during the attack.

In the interview released on Monday, the prince said: "We fire when we have to, take a life to save a life, but essentially we're more of a deterrent than anything else."

He said missions to recover injured troops were a key role.

"Our job out here is to make sure the guys are safe on the ground.

"Now if that means shooting at someone who's shooting at them, then we'll do it."

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