As he returns from duty in Afghanistan, Prince Harry offers a rare insight into juggling his roles as a prince and pilot – revealing that he does not always get the balance right.
A million miles from Sin City and the infamous photographs of the prince playing “strip billiards” in a Las Vegas hotel suite, he admitted to letting himself and his family down.
“It was probably a classic example of me probably being too much army and not enough prince,” he said.
However, 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.”
Since his mother’s death the prince has made few attempts to hide his dislike for the media and his feelings over privacy. “I think it’s fairly obvious how far back it goes – to when I was very small,” he said.
“I’m out here doing a job and I really enjoy it. I never wanted you guys to be out here, but there was an agreement made.”
The agreement was to give the media rare access to the prince over Christmas at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.
The prince was deployed on his second tour of Afghanistan in September, on a four month tour as an Apache co-pilot for the Army Air Corp. His first tour in 2008 was cut short due to fears over his safety.
The prince immerses himself in his job as Captain Harry Wales, and revealed his brother would like to see active service overseas. “There is a bit of jealousy,” Prince Harry said. “Not just that I get to fly this but obviously he’d love to be out here and I don’t see why – to be honest with you I don’t see why he couldn’t.
“His job out here would be flying the IIT or whatever, doing Chinook missions. Just the same as us; no one knows who’s in the cockpit. Yes you get shot at but, you know, if the guys that are doing the same job as us are being shot at on the ground then I don’t think there’s anything wrong with us being shot at as well. People at home will have issues with that, but we’re not special, the guys out there are. Simple as that.”
Obviously he’d love to be out here and I don’t see why – to be honest with you I don’t see why he couldn’t. Prince Harry on Prince William
Despite his feelings about the media, the prince served up a good-humoured tour of his life at the camp, including a briefing of mastering the delicate art of peeing while flying an apache helicopter.
It was the lighter side to a job which the prince said is governed by the rule: “Take a life to save a life.
“That’s what we revolve around I suppose. If there are people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, we’ll take them out of the game,” he said.
For a prince and a pilot, Prince Harry appears well grounded. “As I always say, work hard, play hard – and I’ll always be enjoying my job however long that carries on for. Then obviously I’ve got the other job to fall back on,” he said.
The prince will resume normal duty based in the UK after a period of post-tour leave.