Prince Harry Returns From Afghanistan And Reveals Bad Media Relationship (VIDEO)

Prince Harry revealed a wounded relationship with the media during frank interviews in Afghanistan.

Press access to the royal was strictly controlled while he was working as an Apache co-pilot gunner (CPG) for 20 weeks, but newspaper battles following the publication of pictures of him frolicking naked in a Las Vegas hotel suite were fresh in his memory.

The 28-year-old's candid comments show he cares deeply about his public image, and he revealed he always reads press reports about himself, despite advice from his father to ignore them.

"Of course I read them,” the prince said.

“If there's a story and something's been written about me, I want to know what's being said.

“But all it does is just upset me and anger me that people can get away with writing the stuff they do. Not just about me, but about everything and everybody.

"My father always says, 'Don't read it'. Everyone says, 'Don't read it, because it's always rubbish'.”

Asked when his deep mistrust of the press started, he said sharply: "I think it's fairly obvious how far back it goes. It's when I was very small."

Media coverage of Harry's second operational deployment to Afghanistan was limited to three visits from a small pool of journalists - one at the very start to announce his arrival, and two more during his tour.

Two-man crews from the BBC, Sky and ITN were sent once each to report on his work, while a photographer and a reporter from the Press Association were embedded on all three visits.

The Ministry of Defence granted media access to the prince on the condition that newspapers and television stations would not give a running commentary or print speculative articles and allow Harry to get on with his job.

His tour started just weeks after the naked pictures emerged. Harry told the Press Association in Camp Bastion he should have been entitled to privacy in Las Vegas and his treatment by some newspapers was unacceptable.

After admitting he had let himself and his family down, he said: "But at the end of the day I was in a private area and there should be a certain amount of privacy that one should expect.

"The papers knew that I was going out to Afghan anyway, so the way I was treated from them I don't think is acceptable."

Asked if it matters to him what the British public think about him, he said: "Of course it does.

“But they are two very different things - what the public think and what the media think."

He went on: “Anyone in this position would hope that you're not hated by people, so I hope I'm doing right,” he said.

Harry showed his frustration at what he considered to be inaccurate and speculative articles about his role as a CPG.

The Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph all published articles comparing him to a Second World War Spitfire pilot who sits around waiting to scramble to his aircraft, but it was the News International (NI) tabloid that Harry vented his anger on.

"No it's not like that at all," he said. "I don't know who quoted that."

Referring to the hacking scandal that rocked NI, he said: "I think it was probably the Sun newspaper, but because we haven't got mobile phones out here they obviously can't bug our phones so they don't know what we're saying.

"But the Spitfire thing, I don't know where that's come from. I think it was probably a comparison to suggest that it was the same, I don't know. Maybe you could ask the guys from then what it was like.”

Harry showed he was very familiar with press coverage, even during his deployment.

Within a week of his arrival at Camp Bastion - on his birthday - the base was attacked by Taliban fighters.

It was widely reported at the time that Harry was the target of the attack, but that was not officially confirmed.

When asked about how he celebrated turning 28 on September 15, he said: "Well it just so happened that it coincided with, I think it was about 15 guys who decided to attack the base.

"Obviously the papers back home were a bit like, 'Oh, this is all against me'."

But Harry believes the raid - in which two US Marines and 14 insurgents were killed - could have been targeted at American forces, because of an incident in which copies of the Koran were allegedly desecrated.

"No one really knows yet but I think it was more towards the book and the Americans, but either way, this camp is in the middle of Afghanistan and we should expect to be attacked at any point,” he said.

Military sources said the attack would have been planned months in advance of Harry's arrival at Camp Bastion.

However, despite Harry's frustration, he seemed relaxed with the embedded journalists in Camp Bastion and comfortable giving interviews on camera.

When asked where his and his brother's fascination with helicopters came from, he joked: "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."