How Prince Harry Celebrated Christmas in Afghanistan

Prince Harry
Prince Harry looks on as he visits Up Park Camp on March 7, 2012 in Kingston, Jamaica. Prince Harry is in Jamaica as part of a Diamond Jubilee Tour, representing Queen Elizabeth II, taking in Belize, the Bahamas, Jamaica and Brazil.  Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Prince William and pregnant Kate Middleton weren't the only no-shows at the Sandringham Estate for the annual royal Christmas celebration. William's brother Prince Harry was also absent from the holiday celebration with his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, father Prince Charles and other royal relations.

The redheaded "spare heir," 28, marked Dec. 25 3,500 miles away at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, where the Apache helicopter co-pilot has been serving with the army air corps since September.

Harry, and 4,000 other British troops celebrated the day with carol services, sporting competitions (including a 5K, costumed fun run), pantomimes (!) and a big Christmas lunch. The single royal (whose 2012 was marked by a nude photo scandal from Las Vegas) "marked Christmas just like any of the troops," a Ministry of Defense source tells Us Weekly.

Prince Charles
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales visits Carshalton Boys Sports College on November 26, 2012 in Carshalton, England. Samir Hussein/

According to the Telegraph, Harry and his colleagues chowed down on 200 turkeys, 140 joints of beef, 40 boxes of Brussels sprouts and 120 bags of potatoes.

In a "Boxing Day" address Wednesday Dec. 26, Harry's father Prince Charles admitted he missed his younger son, and eagerly awaits Harry's letters from abroad.

"I also wanted to pay tribute to the extraordinary contribution made by those of you who belong to our armed forces, in all sorts of different parts of the world," Charles, 64, said. "Nowhere is your fortitude and relentless courage more clearly on display than in Afghanistan, where your resilience, patience and determination to see the job through – usually in impossibly difficult conditions and circumstances – is, quite simply, humbling."

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