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William 'would love to be here'

The Duke of Cambridge should be allowed to fly helicopter missions in Afghanistan, his younger brother has said.

Prince Harry - who has now completed a 20-week deployment in the war-torn country - insisted the pair are "not special" and revealed William is envious of his tour of duty.

Speaking alongside an Apache attack helicopter at Camp Bastion, the 28-year-old co-pilot gunner (CPG) said there was no reason why the royals should not be in the firing line if troops on the ground are facing the same dangers while taking on the Taliban.

William, 30, the future Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, is an RAF Flight Lieutenant and works as a Search and Rescue Force pilot on Sea King helicopters.

Based at RAF Valley on Anglesey in North Wales, he commands missions to help stranded climbers and stricken vessels in the area.

But the second-in-line to the throne has never seen active service because it is considered too dangerous.

Harry believes his brother could do a similar job in Afghanistan - flying Chinook helicopters with emergency medical crews on board to pick up casualties.

He said: "I think there is a bit of jealousy, not just the fact that I get to fly this, but obviously he'd love to be out here. And to be honest with you, I don't see why he couldn't.

"His job out here would be flying the IRT (Immediate Response Team), or whatever, doing Chinook missions. Just the same as us. No one knows who's in the cockpit.

"Yes, you get shot at. But if the guys who are doing the same job as us are being shot at on the ground, I don't think there's anything wrong with us being shot at as well.

"People back home will have issues with that, but we're not special. The guys out there are. Simple as that."

Any such move to send William to a war zone would make him the first future monarch since George VI - then known as Prince Albert - to have seen active wartime military service.

George, who became king in December 1936, served with the Royal Navy during the First World War, including at the Battle of Jutland.

His brother, the then Prince of Wales, who later reigned briefly as Edward VIII, also served in the Great War, as a staff officer behind the front line at the Battle of the Somme.

Captain Wales - as Harry is known in the Army - was sent to Afghanistan in September last year with 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps.

He said the brotherly envy works both ways, but they are proud of what they do.

"Before coming out here I was very jealous of my brother," he admitted.

"It's operational flying back home. You get all the luxuries of operational flying - the pride, as you call it - and the reward of basically in his case saving people's lives, which is exactly what we try and do as well.

"And back home he gets to go home to his wife and his dog, whereas out here we don't. We're stuck playing PlayStation in a tent full of men."

The Apache and Sea King helicopters are completely different aircraft to fly, but Harry believes the brothers could switch places.

"He could fly this. I'd like to think I could fly his," he said.

"His job's very cool, and I think he's doing a wonderful job.

"Even though he's in the RAF," he joked, unable to resist a brotherly dig at William.

Harry flew on missions all over Helmand Province, providing support to Troops In Contact (TICs), accompanying IRTs to pick up casualties, destroying known Taliban strongholds and acting as a deterrent during routine missions in and around the Green Zone.

He is the latest in a long line of royals who have served in the armed forces, and the family has a history of flying helicopters.

The Prince of Wales and Duke of York both trained as helicopter pilots, with Andrew taking part in missions in the Falklands War.

But Harry revealed it is not just the family association with rotary aircraft that intrigued him and his brother.

"Probably the fact that you can only fit a certain amount of people in a helicopter, therefore no one can follow us - like you guys," he joked with the press.

"Our father flew, our uncle's flown, all sorts of people have flown in my family.

"And I wouldn't suggest that's where it's come from, but it is great fun, and I was given the opportunity in the end, and I couldn't say no to it."

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