Prince Harry has been deployed to Afghanistan to take up a four-month tour of duty as a co-pilot gunner, flying attack helicopters in the fight against the Taliban.
The 27-year-old, who flew under cover of darkness from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, looked assured, giving a thumbs-up upon his return to Camp Bastion, in Helmand province.
Dressed in combat gear, Harry was then given a tour by a member of his squadron and shown an Apache helicopter with a 30mm cannon, which he likened to a "robot".
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Also present was the Prince's commanding officer, Captain Jock Gordon of the Royal Navy.
Extending a warm welcoming to the Queen's grandson, whom he referred to as Captain Wales, Captain Gordon said: "His previous experience will make him a useful asset.
"He'll be in a difficult and demanding job, and I ask that he be left to get on with his duties."
This is Harry's second tour in Afghanistan, following his first deployment as a forward air controller in 2008 which was interrupted much to his disappointment after his location was revealed by the US media.
Royal sources commented on the third in line to the throne's "pride and anticipation" at returning to his duties and Prince Charles has said he is "immensely proud of his son".
Despite coming so soon after reports of his indiscretions in Las Vegas, Harry's return has been months in the planning and his training for the role took him 16 months to complete.
All the news as Duchess Kate's due date draws close...