Harry's Homecoming: Prince returns to Britain

March 1, 2008 4:48:08 AM PST
Britain's Prince Harry is home from war.

Prince Harry touched down in Britain on Saturday after a stint in Afghanistan as a soldier was cut short when details of his secret deployment were disclosed by a magazine and Web sites.

Defense ministry officials said Harry - who served 10 weeks - was due to be greeted by his father, Prince Charles, and brother, Prince William, at the Brize Norton air base in Oxfordshire, southern England.

Harry's fellow soldiers from the Household Cavalry unit are due to return back to the U.K. in April at the end of their near-six month tour, defense officials said.

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Harry, third in line to the throne, was withdrawn from his deployment after the once closely guarded secret became public.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


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