London: Prince Harry has claimed the British Queen has given her blessing to his return to active duty in Afghanistan, ending speculation over whether the Royal Family would approve of his second stint in the war-ravaged country.
In an interview with the `BBC`, the 26-year-old third- in-line to the British throne has said that his grandmother "understands more than anybody else" the duty to serve one`s country, `The Daily Telegraph` reported.
Asked if his family would worry about him returning to the frontline, the Prince said: "They will be concerned, just as any other family.
"But my grandmother -- and my father, of course, but my grandmother more than anybody else because at the end of the day she`s the Queen -- she understands more than anybody else that I`m serving my country and that`s what I chose to do and that`s what William chose to do as well, and that`s what we`ll continue to do."
Harry is likely to be deployed next year when his Apache pilot training comes to an end. In 2008, the Prince served in Helmand Province with the Household Cavalry but his tour was cut short after 10 weeks when an Australian magazine breached a news blackout and disclosed his whereabouts.
There were fears that his presence in Afghanistan could increase the risk to other soldiers by making him a high priority target for the Taliban.
Asked why he had chosen the "lonely business" of flying rather than the camaraderie of life on the ground, the Prince admitted that he had been given little choice in the matter.
"When I came back last time, obviously it was because of the media. I wanted to go back... and I was told, `From the media`s point of view you`ve done that job we`ll not keep this secret quiet unless you do something different`," he said.