"I'm not, sort of, looking," the royal says in a candid new interview

By Simon Perry
Updated May 17, 2015 09:20 AM
Rex USA; Everett

Prince Harry may be the world’s most famous royal singleton, but he’s not pining to be a “smug married” like a certain lovelorn literary heroine.

“Bridget Jones? That’s sad,” Harry, 30, said when asked in a candid new interview whether he related to the fictional character.

“No, for me it’s good, I’m very happy not having a girlfriend,” said the royal, who split a year ago from actress Cressida Bonas and previously dated Zimbabwean blue blood Chelsy Davy. “It s not a case of anything … I’m not, sort of, looking. It’s cool.”

Speaking to British newspapers The Sun and The Sunday Times as he wound up a tour of New Zealand, he also expressed his appreciation for his decade-long military career, which will end this summer.

“I put my hand up, as I said to the kids today, you can make bad choices, some severe, some not so severe. Without a doubt, [the military] does keep you out of trouble,” he said. “You can make bad choices in life, but it’s how you recover from those and which path you end up taking.”

He said he recommends a similar course for his nephew Prince George, 22 months, and niece Princess Charlotte, 2 weeks.

“I would definitely encourage George, and Charlotte if she wants, to have some sort of involvement in the Armed Forces, guaranteed,” he said. “It’s done me no harm, just good and it’s the same for William.

“And I know that William and Catherine would probably echo that as well, depending on the situation for them in those years to come.”

He also offered some advice for his niece and nephew as they grow up and enter a life of royal duty and scrutiny.

“As an uncle, you know, ‘Enjoy the role, because at first it s just pressure, pressure, pressure,’ ” he said.

As he returns to the U.K. Sunday, he also laid out plans for the first few months after he leaves the army in a month or so. Initially, he plans to head to Africa and will spend some of that time studying the illegal wildlife trade and the effect on the animal population there.

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He said he likes to “have people not really care who I am,” adding, “half of it is up in the air. I don’t want people really knowing where I’m going.”

He also discouraged the notion that he’s taking a year off between military and civilian life. “To put it to bed, it’s not really a gap year!” he said.

Rather, he said he is eager to join one of South Africa’s top veterinarians to learn more about a cause that is close to his heart.

“For me, it’s three months of hard grafting, working with animals,” he said. “To actually get the chance to embed myself with the top vet in southern Africa, travel with him for three weeks and every job he gets called up to do. That’s like my dream.”

For much more on life with Prince George and Princess Charlotte, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday