The Prince of Wales' press secretary Paddy Harverson attended only four meetings with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) during the seven months of planning.
The MoD has said that ‘the understanding' was handled entirely by a nucleus made up of senior MoD figures: director of news James Shelley, the Army's chief of the general staff General Sir Richard Dannatt and the Army assistant director Colonel Ben Bathurst.
Shelley said: ‘We were clear it was ours. Getting the Clarence House seal of approval was a bridge too far.' Harverson declined to comment.
US website The Drudge Report broke the story of Harry's presence in Afghanistan last Thursday.
Shelley said a premature press leak bringing Harry's deployment to a close was ‘inevitable'.