Speaking for the first time since flying back to Britain, Prince Harry says he is no hero. The third in line to the throne, known in the army as Lieutenant Windsor, was 10 weeks into a three-month deployment in turbulent Helmand Province when news about his duty was leaked on the Internet. For VOA, Tom Rivers in London has the latest.
Looking a bit tired and in a slightly somber mood, Prince Harry fielded a few questions in the terminal building of Brize Norton air force base, north of London. He rejected British tabloid coverage of him that widely labels him a returning hero.
"I would not say I am the hero at all. I am no more hero than anybody else. I mean, everyone, if you think about it there are thousands and thousands of troops out there. There are guys who, you know, two injured guys who came back on the plane with us who were essentially comatose throughout the whole way. One who had lost two limbs, a left arm and a right leg and another guy who was basically saved by his mate's body being in the way and took shrapnel to the neck. Both out cold throughout the whole of the flight, and you know, those are the heroes," he said.
It was widely known by the British media that Harry was serving in southern Afghanistan in Helmand Province. And a news blackout agreement between media organizations and the British Defense Ministry held for 10 weeks, but rapidly unraveled when the U.S.-based Drudge Report Internet site broke the story.
Harry says it has left him disappointed.
"I thought I could sit through to the end and come back with sort of our guys and the colonel himself. But you know, I am back here now and I suppose, I think deep down inside it would be quite nice looking forward having a bath. So, I think once I have had a bath, I think it is nice to be back early. But no, I would like to still be out there with the guys," he added.
Second Lieutenant Windsor will discuss various options once his commanding officer returns from Afghanistan. Although it may not happen, Harry would like to go back to Afghanistan in another front line position and he says he hopes his brother can see some overseas duty as well.
"I know there are a lot of people who are thinking, well, you have done it once now, you have got the medal, why would you ever want to go back again? Well, as you know, if you spoke to a lot of the other guys who came off the plane with me, there are plenty of people willing to go back again just to serve their country and do their bit," he added.
For the next month, it will be rest and relaxation for Harry, then it will be back to army life for the young prince. Just what he will do and where is anyone's guess.