In what Palace watchers described as a “timely distraction’’ from his recent “misadventures’’ in Las Vegas where he was photographed cavorting in the nude, Prince Harry has been despatched to Afghanistan on a four-month deployment as an Apache helicopter pilot.

“Captain Wales’’, as he is officially known, will be stationed at the main British base, Camp Bastion in Helmand, where he arrived on Thursday night leaving behind him a trail of embarrassment for the royal family over his Las Vegas antics.

His commander asked for him to be left alone to focus on a “difficult and demanding’’ job which will involve taking part in combat missions against the Taliban.

“He will be in a difficult and demanding job. And I ask that he be left to get on with his duties and allowed to focus on delivering support to the coalition troops on the ground,” said Royal Navy Captain Jock Gordon, Commander of the Joint Aviation Group.

It is the second time that the Prince has been deployed in Afghanistan.

He was secretly deployed there in 2007-2008 but was pulled out after 10 weeks after the foreign media “outed’’ him prompting fears that he could be targeted by militants.

The risk to his life was considered too great after the U.S. and Australian media published details of his deployment.

He was said to be “determined’’ to return to front-line combat saying it would be pointless to train as a helicopter pilot if he never served. “I’d just be taking up a spare place for somebody else if they didn’t have me going out on the job,’’ he said.

The Prince, who turns 28 next week and is third in line to the throne, has earned notoriety for his playboy life style and attempts to project him as a “passionate’’ and “caring’’ young man by highlighting his work among children’s charities have failed in the face of his boisterous private life.

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