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Prince Harry to Leave British Army, London Evening Standard Reports

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LONDON — Prince Harry is planning to leave the British armed forces later this year to focus on charity projects in Africa, the London Evening Standard newspaper reported Friday.

The 30-year-old has served two tours in Afghanistan but has decided to spend "a significant period abroad" and pursue his interests in "conservation and wildlife," the paper’s veteran royal editor Robert Jobson wrote. NBC News was not immediately able to confirm the report.

The Evening Standard also said that Harry, who is known as Captain Harry Wales in the military, is also interested in focusing on programs helping injured military personnel.

Harry chose a career in the military after undergoing officer training at the U.K.'s prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Last year he launched the Invictus Games, an Olympics-style sporting event based in London for people injured in the armed forces.

When contacted by NBC News, neither Kensington Palace nor the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) would confirm or deny the Evening Standard's report.

In an emailed statement, a palace spokesman said: "Prince Harry is currently focused on his work supporting the MoD's recovery capability program to ensure those who are wounded injured or sick have appropriate recovery plans and the necessary support they require."

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A senior British military source told NBC News that it was a logical time for Harry to consider his next step. The prince has 10 years' military experience and his next promotion would be to major, which would require years of extra study and commitment.

Harry was frustrated at the start of his military career in 2005 by the decision not to deploy him to Iraq due to fears he would be targeted by insurgents.

The decision not to expose him to front-line fighting was reversed when he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008. He operated in Helmand province as a forward air controller, calling in airstrikes.

His colleagues told NBC News at the time that he was very proficient. He served a second tour in Afghanistan as an Apache helicopter pilot.

Harry has gained a great deal of respect in Britain by serving on the front line. It has improved the public image of a prince who was seen as wayward at times. His father, Prince Charles, left the Royal Navy at 28, his brother Prince William left his job as an Royal Air Force search-and-rescue pilot at 31.

NBC News' Tracy Snyder contributed to this report.

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