LONDON — British defense chiefs announced Friday they were withdrawing Prince Harry immediately from the combat zone in Afghanistan after his deployment, once a close secret, became public and his presence there became a risk to him and those around him.
Still, Harry's hopes of a long-term military career should still be boosted by his time at war and by the assessment of his commander, Brig. Andrew Mackey, that the prince "acquitted himself with distinction."
Harry, 23 and third in line to the throne, sees the military as a career. Although his deployment ended prematurely, military analysts said it would nonetheless help his army career.
"It will set him apart from the people who haven't been on active service," said Charles Heyman, author of guidebooks to the British military. "That's the most important thing for a soldier."
The prince's deployment had gone undisclosed under an agreement between the Ministry of Defense and major news organizations designed to protect Harry and his fellow soldiers.
An Australian women's magazine reported on Harry's deployment last month, but that report received little attention. When the news was posted on the Drudge Report Web site Thursday, a torrent of coverage followed.
He is expected to return to Britain.