It was a simple question, maybe too simple, and Prince Harry couldn’t resist a playful reply that wrenched an "Oh, my God, no," response from his brother, Prince William.
"You’ve been to the United States," TODAY co-host Matt Lauer began. "What are your impressions?"
"Horrible," deadpanned the younger of Lady Diana’s two sons.
After William’s response, Lauer pointed out the obvious: "You know that’s the headline — 'Harry Calls U.S. Horrible.’"
"No," Harry said, after the laughter subsided. "I think it’s such an amazing place. It’s so vast and on such a massive scale, and there’s so much to do. And it’s so different."
"I love America," said William, who three years ago spent a week on a farm in Tennessee visiting Anna Sloan, a friend he had met while attending college in Scotland. "I think it’s brilliant. I have a really good time when I'm over there. Everyone's really friendly, welcoming. They’re very good at sort of not being too invasive. It's cool. And it'd be nice to get back to America sometime soon."
The endorsement of Great Britain’s former colony came during part of the first interview the princes have ever done on U.S. television, which aired on TODAY and Dateline NBC this week.
Lauer asked Harry, who is in the British Army, about the possibility of not being deployed to Iraq with his unit. At the time the interview was conducted in April, the decision had not yet been made to cancel his deployment to prevent his unit from being targeted by insurgents and putting his mates in greater danger.
"I would be disappointed," Harry said. "I think I can safely say that my guys would be disappointed. All that training that you've done as a group — you know each other. You know when someone's grumpy without having to ask them, etc., etc. There's that bond."
Although he wanted to serve, he said understood the arguments against it "because the last thing I want is to feel I'm responsible for someone else being injured in any way at all."
Lauer asked William if he worries about his brother in combat.
"Yeah, I worry," he said.
"He’s not bothered at all," Harry interjected, jokingly.
"Good to get him out of the house, you know, and get away from us," William returned. "But at the same time, of course I worry."
The brothers said that with Harry in the army, it’s not easy to keep in touch as frequently as they would like. But, like anyone else, they communicate through e-mail, text-messaging and telephone.
"We contact each other normal way," said Harry. "We are slightly normal. We have a normal side to us."
"If your last name weren't ‘Windsor,’ if it were ‘Smith’ or ‘Jones,’ and you didn't have the duties that you were born into, what would you want to do professionally?" Lauer asked the brothers, who actually use the surname "Wales," taken from their father’s official title, Duke of Wales.
"Well, when I was younger, I wanted to be a policeman," William laughed. "And I wouldn't want to be that now."
He said it’s a difficult question, but "I'd like to fly helicopters, definitely. I'd like to be some sort of heli pilot, you know, working for the UN maybe or something like that. I'd have to be doing something active outside and doing sort of fun stuff but with an edge to helping people."
As for Harry, he added, "He’d probably sit and play computer games and drink beer."
"Oh, thanks a lot," Harry said, adding, "I’d probably live in Africa. I’d like to spend all my time out there?"
"In the humanitarian aspect?" Lauer asked.
"Both," said Harry. "It would be a humanitarian aspect and as well as a sort of a safari aspect. I would have to get a job. So it would probably be a safari guide."
"Be really good for me, 'cause he wouldn't be around, you see?" quipped William. "So I'd get the whole house to myself."
Last year, Harry joined Prince Seeiso of Lesotho formed a charity to help children orphaned by AIDS. William works with a British charity that aids homeless children and with another British charity dedicated to African conservation.
"If I became normal tomorrow, then I'd help Lesotho," Harry said.
"That word, ‘normal,’ comes up a lot, doesn’t it?" Lauer said, referring to a recurring them of the interview.
"Yeah," said Harry.
Said Lauer: "It’s kind of the Holy Grail out there."
The brothers spoke to Lauer as they were preparing a July 1 celebration of their mother’s life to be presented in Wembley Stadium and broadcast on NBC.
Lady Diana was killed nearly ten years ago, on Aug. 31, 1997, in a car crash in Paris while fleeing paparazzi.