03/04/2012

Pippa and Prince Harry sparkle in sun and snow

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Pippa Middleton is kissed by race steward Erik Smedhs moments after crossing the finish line of the 88th Vasaloppet cross country ski marathon in Mora. The Duchess of Cambridge's sister finished the 90-kilometre event in 412th place. (AFP/Getty Images)

They played supporting players at the royal wedding, but Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton both had the royal spotlight on Sunday -- despite being half a world apart.

140651466While one was raising money for charity in the snow, the other was basking in the sun and putting a shine on the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year.

For Pippa, it turns out that  despite the ups and downs of her love life, she has been keeping herself in tip-top physical condition. Her Royal Hotness finished the gruelling 90-kilometre Vasaloppet cross-country ski race in Sweden on Sunday in seven hours, 13 minutes and 36 seconds -- and earned a kiss from race official Erik Smedhs at the finish line.

She was in 412th place among 1,734 women in the race, quite a respectable finish. There were a total of 15,800 competitors in the world-class event. Her brother James finished in in the middle of the men's pack, 10 minutes behind Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, who clocked 6:36:32.

"It was incredible and it was faster than I thought I would manage," Pippa told the Swedish-language Aftonbladet daily. "Now I'm going to rest and put my feet up."

Pippa and her brother were in the race to raise money for the children's charity Magic Breakfast.

509370881As for that kiss, Smedhs told the Telegraph: "I didn't really plan it, it was just a spontaneous thing. It's traditional to kiss the winner of the race, but I thought it would be funny to kiss Pippa when she finished.

"She just said 'thank you' and smiled."

Harry, meanwhile, has been in the Caribbean, representing the Queen in his first solo foreign tour. He was cheered by Bahamian crowds gathered outside a cathedral in Nassau on Sunday, a striking presence in the Tropical No. 1 uniform of the Blues & Royals.

Among the gushing admirers was the reigning Miss Bahamas, 23-year-old Anastagia Pierre.

She told the Daily Telegraph: “I came here to fall in love with Prince Harry ... he's hot! He is single now, so would I marry him? Yes!”

Harry arrived in the Bahamas from Belize, where he set an informal tone for his tour with dancing and drinking at a street party. He spent Sunday with more formal ceremonies and a visit with the Royal Bahamian Defence Force.

In a speech, he passed along the Queen's good wishes and added that he'll be taking back to England many good memories of his first visit to the nation: "I’ll certainly be showing off about it to my brother and sister-in-law when I return home."

Jamaica is his next stop on Monday, where he's expected to meet the world's top sprinter, Usain Bolt, as well as visit a children's hospital.

Back in Sweden, the winner of the world-class race for the second straight year was Jorgen Brink, trimming 16 seconds off the course record with a time of 3:38:41.

The women's winner was Vibeke Skofterud of Norway with a time of 4:08:24.


The competition has been run since 1922 between the villages of Salen near the Norwegian border to the town of Mora. It has its roots in Gustav Vasa's attempt to gather support for a revolt against occupying Danes in 1522.

Vasa fled Mora, but then the locals had a change of heart and sent sent a team of skiers to bring him back.

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There were 15,800 skiers taking part in the 88th Vasaloppet  cross country ski marathon in Mora on Sunday.  The annual long distance (90 km) cross-country ski marathon held on the first Sunday of March in northwestern Dalarna, Sweden between the village of Salen and town of Mora. (AFP/Getty Images)
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Pippa Middleton keeps up the pace in the Vasaloppet marathon in Sweden. (AFP/Getty Images)

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Prince Harry talks to Boy Scouts after attending a church service at Christ Church Cathedral in Nassau. (Reuters)
2012-03-04T195605Z_01_SLP11
 Prince Harry accepts a portrait from artist Jamaal Rolle at a reception in Rawson Square in Nassau, Bahamas. (Reuters)

2012-03-04T201410Z_01_SLP11  Right, Prince Harry unveils a portrait of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth at a reception in Rawson Square in Nassau, Bahamas on Sunday. (Reuters)

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Prince Harry   smiles to the crowds as he sits in a specially decorated golf buggy during a tour of Harbour Island in Nassau on Sunday. (Reuters)

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