Army commanders are grappling with an unprecedented security headache as Prince Harry prepares to deploy to Iraq.
The third in line to the throne appears to have won the battle to join his men on operations in a war zone after months of high-level discussions during which he threatened to quit if he was left behind for his own safety.
Insiders say, however, that officials are still grappling with practical issues - including whether the Metropolitan Police personal protection officers who guard Harry around the clock in the UK should continue doing so in Iraq.
Time to resolve such issues is short. The prince's unit, 'A' Squadron of the Blues and Royals regiment, was warned unofficially last week to expect a six-month tour of duty in southern Iraq starting in April.
It will be the first time a member of the Royal Family has served on military operations since Prince Andrew flew helicopters in the Falklands War 25 years ago - and will force his senior commanders to confront some difficult choices over security.
Southern Iraq remains extremely dangerous for UK forces, with six soldiers killed since Christmas, four of them by roadside bombs.
Harming or capturing the third in line to the throne would be a massive coup for insurgents or terrorists and in the grim humour of the Army the 22-year-old prince is already being referred to as a 'bullet magnet'.
Senior officers will have to weigh up the options, including keeping Harry out of harm's way with a relatively safe job inside a headquarters.
Alternatively, he could be allowed to lead a 12-strong armoured reconnaissance patrol - the role for which he has spent months training - while being restricted to remote desert areas where he would be difficult to track down or recognise.
Hundreds of British soldiers are operating in outlying areas of the volatile Maysan Province, trying to stop the flow of weapons and drugs across the nearby Iranian border.
Although the area is dangerous, it is deemed safer than towns and cities, and Harry could remain relatively anonymous.
On the issue of bodyguards, one royal source said it was a 'distinct possibility' that police representatives would accompany him to 'oversee' his security, but acknowledged practical problems.
The officers are not trained to operate in a war zone, there would be no space for them in the Scimitar armoured vehicles used by Harry's unit, and their expertise would offer little protection against roadside bombs.
An alternative is to assign a team of Royal Military Police bodyguards, who specialise in guarding senior commanders and VIPs on operations.
One Army source said: 'Harry's always wanted to be treated as an ordinary soldier and I think people respect him for that. He's not an ordinary soldier, of course, but it looks like he's got his way over Iraq.
'Frankly I don't envy his commanders. Losing any soldier under your command is awful. Lose the third in line to the throne and you'd unfortunately go down in history as well.'
Defence Secretary Des Browne will make an official announcement on the April rotation of units in the next two weeks.