PRINCE Harry has said he was disappointed at having to cut short his tour of duty in Afghanistan, but was keen to return to the frontline as soon as possible.
The 23-year-old returned home yesterday, nearly 48 hours after a US website broke an embargo agreed between British media and the defence ministry not to publish his whereabouts for security reasons.
Harry, a second-lieutenant in the Blues and Royals regiment of the Household Cavalry, said soon after touching down on a military flight that he had not expected the news to leak.
“Angry would be the wrong word to use, but I am slightly disappointed. I thought I could see it through to the end and come back with our guys and (my commanding officer),” he said.
“But I’m back here now and I suppose deep down inside it’s quite nice. I’m looking forward to having a bath… but no, I would like to have stayed back with the guys.
“But whatever has happened has happened and it doesn’t surprise me. There’s always someone out there who is willing to ruin the party but, well, job’s done.”
The young royal, whose secret mission has largely been supported by the British public since it was revealed, said he learnt the news while leading a light tank troop in the desert near the former Taliban stronghold of Musa Qala.
His fellow soldiers were “pretty gutted” but raised him on their shoulders and sang him farewell, he added, describing his entire 10-week tour as “fantastic”.
“I was hugely grateful for having the opportunity,” he said.
He said he was now waiting to hear from his superiors about his future role, but is still keen to serve on the frontline alongside his regimental colleagues.
“As far as I see it, I would love to go back out and I’ve already mentioned it to (my commanding officer) that I want to go out very, very soon,” he added.