Just moments after arriving from Kandahar, Prince Harry said that his 10-week stint as a soldier in Afghanistan was one of the best times of his life.
''It was fantastic. It was an opportunity that I was wanting to do the whole time and to be able to do it -- I was hugely grateful for having the opportunity," he told reporters. "I did enjoy it a little bit more that I should have, not in a sick way, but I enjoyed being out there, every element had something different about it. But actually being out in the middle of nowhere, with the stars out, is just a fantastic place to be,'' he enthused.
The Prince may have been in a war zone in the wilds of Afghanistan, but he still appreciated his surroundings."It's hard to actually bring yourself back to reality and say 'No, I could actually get shot at any point' just because the area itself was so nice. Two mornings before I left was the first morning I heard birds sing in the desert."
Fearing for the Prince's safety, a deal was struck between the British Ministry Of Defense and all British media outlets that they would leave him alone while he was on active duty. In return, British reporters were allowed to record interviews and film him in action, on the battleground. They were not however, able to report anything until he was safely home. The result is a detailed account of a warrior prince.
Harry praised the British media. ''I was surprised by the way that the British media kept to their side of the bargain and I hate to say it but, no, I'm very grateful for that and thanks to all the British media for keeping their mouths shut," he said, adding, "I know for a fact that there was stuff they did behind the scenes to stop stuff coming out which was massively kind of them. But at the same time it doesn't surprise me that once again it was media, foreign media, that spilled the beans, so yes it's a shame but to be expected I guess.''
Once dubbed 'the party prince' by the British tabloids, Harry has been known more for his late night carousing than his military career.
But these days he is known as 'Harry the Hero,' something which he insists he is not. ''No, I wouldn't say that I am a hero. There were two injured guys who came back on the plane with us who were essentially comatose throughout the whole way. One had lost two limbs -- a left arm and a right leg -- and another guy who was saved by his mate's body being in the way but took shrapnel to the neck. Both (were) out cold throughout the whole of the flight. Those are the heroes, those were guys who had been blown up by a mine that they had no idea about, serving their country, doing a normal patrol, doing what they know is best.''
Prince Harry appeared to be comfortable in his new role. In Afghanistan, he was manning machine guns and went on foot patrol. But his main military role was as a forward air controller or JTAC, calling on air strikes on enemy positions.
He described what was going through his mind when he was fighting on the frontline, at times just 500 yards from the Taliban. "It's war, it's hell, but no, I don't know, you do what you have to do, what's necessary to save your own guys. If you need to drop a bomb, worst case scenario, then you will, but then that's just the way it is, that's the way things go. It's not nice to drop bombs and sort of give that position to people to have to do but to save lives, that's what happens."
For Prince Harry, it wasn't a happy homecoming. His deployment was cut short when his cover was blown by a report on the Drudge Report web site. Fearing for his safety and that of his fellow soldiers, the British Ministry of Defense decided to pull the Prince out and bring him home.
Harry spoke of his deep disappointment. ''I don't know if angry is the right word to say … I didn't see it coming, it's a shame.''
Harry explained how he learned that his tour had ended: ''When I first heard about it, I was on stag, listening to the radio and people were talking about me in code words and I gathered that it was actually about me after a short time. 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 third in line to the British throne had said all along that he wanted action and adventure -- and to go to war. In 2007, he was frustrated with a decision by the Ministry Of Defense not to send him to Iraq because of security concerns.
The Prince reportedly threatened to quit the army if he wasn't allowed to serve with his unit. But there was good reason for concern. The threat from the Taliban was real.
According to Newsweek, deputy commander Mullah Abdul Karim said Taliban intelligence had information on ''an important chicken'' among the British troops in Afghanistan. "He is our special enemy," says Karim. Karim allegedly sent his men to look for Prince Harry after learning he was in the country. ''Our first option was to capture him as a prisoner and the second, to kill him,'' Karim told Newsweek.
The chance finally came to serve on the front line in Helmand province. So it's no surprise Prince Harry wanted to continue serving alongside his unit.
''I thought I could see it through to the end and come back with our guys and the Colonel himself. 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," he said.
His father, Prince Charles, along with his brother Prince William, were at the Air Force base to greet him. Prince Charles described how proud he was of his youngest son, and now understood what the families and loved ones of soldiers experienced when they were serving abroad.
"As you can imagine it's obviously a great relief as far as I'm concerned to see him home in one piece," Prince Charles said. "I know what it's like when they're so far away and it's much worse in a way for those left behind."
What's next for this Royal? The Prince has already told his commanding officer that he wanted to go back on the front line "very, very soon." He claims that his fighting days are not over.
''I hope that this has now been proven that the system can work and the British press go along with the deal, everything in place has proved that it can actually work. So I don't see why it can't work again. Hopefully, for my brother as well, there's a possibility that it can work, we just have to wait and see for the future."
Until then, Prince Harry can now enjoy a hot bath and a cold beer.