The 23-year-old left on a flight on Friday evening amid concerns he would be a Taleban target if he stayed.
His tour had been the subject of an agreed news blackout by some media, but news was broken by a foreign website.
The Prince of Wales and Prince William will meet Harry when he arrives at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
Harry said he was enjoying being in Afghanistan, away from the British media.
Speaking before his withdrawal from Helmand province, the third-in-line to the throne said he would relish another front-line posting.
“It’s something I would love to do,” he said.
“I don’t want to sit around Windsor, because I generally don’t like England that much and it’s nice to be away from all the press and the papers.”
Emotional squaddies who had fought side-by-side with the hero royal during his ten-week frontline tour continued: “He’s here, he’s mean, his gran’s the f****** Queen. Nice one Harry.”
Grub’s up … Prince has a laugh
over desert breakfast
Picture: JOHN STILLWELL
The disappointed prince, airlifted from the war zone after foreign media leaked news of his secret deployment on the front line, was cheered and clapped by troopers in a bid to lift his spirits.
He was then whisked by Chinook helicopter to a giant coalition airbase on the outskirts of the city of Kandahar, where he boarded a flight home on board a regular RAF TriStar passenger jet.
Earlier, pictures showed the third in line to the throne relaxing with Household Cavalry chums by playing soccer with a ball made from toilet roll.
Well played , Sir … Harry enjoys kickabout
with his men using ball made of loo roll
Picture: JOHN STILLWELL
Harry’s fun on a dumped bike
The Prince of wheels … Harry finally under way,
PRINCE Harry took a spin on an abandoned motorbike – then yelled to his mates: “No brakes! No brakes!”
He dug his heels in the desert sand and skidded to a stop, ending up on his back and joining in as colleagues burst into laughter.
Set your desktop with Prince Harry wallpaper:
The prince, who has caught a love of motorcycling from brother Wills, spotted the old Honda 125 – with a couple of threadbare cushions to serve as a seat and two silk flowers decorating the front – during a patrol stop.
He dashed from his Spartan tank and tried to give the machine a bump start to fire the battery. No luck.
The prince wheeled the bike towards his mates and asked for a push in the hope of kicking the machine into life.
Trooper Qoriniasi Matai Loloma, from Suva, Fiji – known as “Max” – jumped down to help as others followed.
Harry joked that the Afghan cushions didn’t go with his “soldier look” and discarded them – and the push-start worked as the engine spluttered into life.
My beauty … Harry gets to know bike, with cushions as seat
Harry whooped and went for a scary couple of laps around the parked Spartans – until his undignified stop.
He still wouldn’t admit defeat and rode the bike yet again.
Then it was Harry’s turn to push the motorcycle as Lance Corporal Steve “Geri” Halliwell, from Bolton, decided to have a go. Again the engine fired and Steve did a couple of laps.
With the group aware that the enemy were always close at hand the fun break was ended – and the clapped-out bike was abandoned once again.
Steve said: “I have to say it’s been fun working with Harry. It will be something to tell the grandchildren.”
Push … Prince Harry and pal Max try to get the battery to fire
Other soldiers also single out the prince’s sense of humour and “common touch” for special praise.
Many said Harry was a credit to his late mother Princess Diana when it came to winning hearts and minds among the locals.
Lance Corporal Frankie O’Leary, 21, said: “Many times he has stood face to face with the locals, where we do hearts and minds stuff, giving out some water rations.
“They don’t know who he is but Harry’s one of those officers you can talk to. He’s laid back and chilled out.”
Corporal Chris Douglas, 28, said: “Harry’s always got a smile on his face. Nobody cares about his background.”
Capt Leigh Wood said: “He fits in incredibly well. He’s always playing rugby or football or sitting around the fire telling stupid stories. He gets the others joking all the time.”
Shove … Harry helps to get Lance Cpl ‘Geri’ Halliwell started
On a similar patrol a 22mm antitank bomb was discovered – and Harry was responsible for directing a helicopter carrying a Gurkha bomb disposal team to the spot.
The Chinook, which had an Apache gunship escort, had been ordered to land several kilometres away.
But Harry persuaded superior officers to allow a landing nearer the danger spot – saving minutes that could be crucial. The team swept the area before blowing up the shell.
Harry said proudly: “It’s rare when you actually manage to persuade Brigade to change their minds.”
From The Sun