Dancing in Belize, racing Usain: On tour, Prince Harry’s personality shines
In 2012, the Royals will be jetting off to many far-flung areas of the Commonwealth to celebrate the Queen’s 60 Years on the throne — and Prince Harry’s tour kicked off this exciting period.
What a trip it was! Harry has torn up the rule book for royal tours, his ‘cheeky chap’ approach and affinity with children and adults alike has catapulted him into the global spotlight. This will undoubtedly go down as one of the all-time-great royal tours.
I am sure that the Queen will be proud of what he achieved during his whistle-stop 12 day tour of these countries. He certainly won many friends in the places he touched down, working his own brand of charm on everyone he met, from affluent holiday makers in the Bahamas to children with nothing in the crime-ridden favelas of Rio De Janiero.
Arriving in the capital of Belize, Belmopan, Harry received an energetic welcome. It appeared half the 300,000 people of Belize had turned out to greet him. Aware of his “party prince”’ reputation, the locals lined up an array of beverages for him to sample. From the local Belikin beer to rum punches, he certainly seemed to be enjoying himself. He even joined in some of the traditional dancing with a local woman. The tour was well and truly underway.
Certainly the highlight of the trip for me was Prince Harry’s meeting with Usain Bolt on the Usain Bolt track at University of the West Indies in Jamaica. Harry arrived looking more than a little nervous – challenging the fastest man in the world to a race is not something to undertake lightly!
After some greetings and a quick question-and-answer session with some aspiring young runners, Harry and Usain took to the track – the mutual admiration was obvious and you could tell the two had hit it off as soon as they met. After some friendly banter, chest bumping and some rather animated stretching Usain glanced towards the crowds on his right. Harry, seeing his moment and catching many of the photographers and cameramen by surprise, leapt out of the blocks. Sprinting down the track with the crowd in hysterics he crossed the finish line, a huge grin on his face with his arms stretched wide. Usain was left looking a little perplexed having barely even left the blocks!
I had fortunately positioned myself right at the end of the track, a little further on from the finish line, and as Harry started down the far end of the track, he was sprinting straight towards me. The speeding royal got bigger and bigger in my viewfinder and I realised in a split second, I would have to change cameras to fit his finish into the frame. Dropping my long lens and focusing my second camera involved a bit of skill adn a large amount of luck. After a few moments of panic and a frantic look at the back of my camera, I discovered I had managed to capture two in-focus frames as the camera had struggled to capture Harry, his arms out stretched displaying his ‘Jamaica’ sports-shirt. To cap it off Harry then joined Bolt in the classic ‘lightening Bolt’ pose, another classic royal moment that combined humour, energy and two of the biggest celebrities in the world, a potent combination and one that resulted in almost every front page of the UK papers the next day!
Harry kept up this form for the rest of the tour. From beach volleyball on Flamengo Beach in Brazil to meeting supermodels after the polo in Campinas, the picture opportunities came in thick and fast.
Its will certainly be a royal tour that won’t fade any time soon into the obscure mists of Royal history, but rather one that will be remembered for a long time as a trip in which Harry(who in his own words is, “More funny than the Queen”) certainly proved this, but above all, cemented the fact that he is a great ambassador for the country.
I certainly look forward to many more “Harry” tours in the future!