Prince Harry returns to UK from Afghanistan

(PA)  

 
Prince Harry returned to Britain on Saturday after his 10-week stint serving in Afghanistan was cut short by media disclosure of his secret deployment.

Defense Ministry officials said Harry (pictured above, centre) was to be greeted by his father, Prince Charles, and brother, Prince William, at Brize Norton air base in Oxfordshire, southern England.

Harry, a cornet - or second lieutenant - arrived at the base in a Royal Air Force troop carrier with dozens of other soldiers.

The soldier prince, with a kit bag slung over his shoulder, and wearing fatigues and body armor, chatted to a colleague as he walked down the aircraft's steps and headed to a terminal building.

The prince did not speak to reporters as he left the troop carrier.

Britain's defense department said Harry was being greeted privately by his family.

Harry, third in line to the throne, was withdrawn from his deployment after the once closely guarded secret became public.

The prince's mission had previously gone undisclosed under an agreement between the Ministry of Defense and major news organizations designed to protect the 23-year-old prince and his fellow soldiers.

The Defense Ministry said Saturday that William - second in line to the British throne - is also likely to serve overseas with the military, probably on board a Royal Navy battleship.

Officials said he could be deployed later this year on a tour to areas including the South Atlantic, the Arabian Gulf, Pacific Ocean or the West Indies.

"It's our intention to give Prince William as full a taste of life in the Royal Navy as possible," a Navy spokesman said, on customary condition of anonymity in line with policy.

Although Harry's deployment ended prematurely, military analysts said it would nonetheless help his army career by allowing him to hold his head high among his comrades.  (AP)
 

 

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