03/06/2012

Prince Harry runs and hugs his way to Jamaican hearts

Harry race
Prince Harry leaves Usain Bolt in his wake as he races him at the Usain Bolt Track at the University of the West Indies on Tuesday in Kingston, Jamaica. (Getty Images)

First, he beat the world's best sprinter on the track. Then he hugged the prime minister who wants to cut her country's ties with his own grandmother, Queen Elizabeth.

Harry pmIs there anything Prince Harry can't get away with?

Apparently not ... at least in Jamaica. The Prince kept up his light and informal approach to this royal tour on Tuesday and scored some valuable PR points along the way.

The royal's visit with Usain Bolt was a perfect way to start his Diamond Jubilee visit to Jamaica -- hamming it up with the country's most internationally known figure.

Later, it was into the lion's den -- a visit with the Jamaican prime minister Portia Simpson Miller, who wants to end the Queen's reign as Head of State over the island and even suggested this week that Britain should compensate them for the "wicked" centuries of slavery.

Given the timing of her remarks, the meeting with Hold handsHarry could easily have been, at best, awkward. It was anything but. On the steps of Devon House in Kingston, the pair hugged, held hands and chatted as if they were life-long friends. The Telegraph correspondent described it as "more like a mother greeting her son than a politician greeting a visiting dignitary."

"We might not let him go," Simpson Miller joked with reporters.

All the while, a portrait of the Queen stood in the background. The PM may be serious about severing ties, but Harry and his host both scored diplomatic points for their good-natured meeting.

Simpson Miller was quick point out that she had nothing personal against the Queen. "She is so warm. We're all in love with her," she said.

Prince Harry set the tone early at the University of the West Indies, where he met -- and beat -- the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt (okay ... it might have been a false start). In a mock race, Harry's early leap from the blocks left Bolt laughing helplessly as the 27-year-old royal dashed to the finish line and threw up his arms in triumph.

Bolt, a three-time Olympic gold medallist, wasn't going to let the Prince get away without some schooling, though, and offered him a few pointers on sprinting. (Might come in handy when Harry has to outdistance the paparazzi.)

After the mock race, Harry noted the accomplishments of Jamaican track stars, offering this advice: "Don't go running off to America, because you've got talent your country needs."

"He cheated," said a smiling Bolt, who played a gracious loser, at least this time. "I said we would have a rematch in London 2012 and Harry said 'I'm busy.'"

Harry had a very full day planned in Kingston, including stops at a couple of hospitals and a state dinner hosted by the Governor-General.

Harry race2
Prince Harry comes out of the starting blocks ready to challenge Usain Bolt (Getty Images)

Harry race4
Prince Harry doesn't let Usain Bolt gain any ground in their mock race at the University of the West Indies on Tuesday. (AP)

Harry bolt
Prince Harry strikes one of Usain Bolt's trademark poses as he hams it up with poses with the world's fastest man at the University of the West Indies on Tuesday. (Getty Images)

Harry and bolt
Prince Harry and Usain Bolt compare wingspans at the track. The 6-foot-5 sprinter can spread his arms 74 inches. The 6-foot-3 Harry didn't quite measure up. (Reuters)

Hospital
Prince Harry talks to one of the patients during a visit to Bustamente Children's Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica on Tuesday. (Reuters)

95ccbd795abd4f668843
Prince Harry dances with a girl during a visit to the non-governmental organization RISE (Reaching Individuals through Skills and Education ) in Kingston. (AP)

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

His mother would be so proud. Keep it up, Harry!

I wouldn,t want t o be married to the Prince at all. You are already giving up your freedom. Never mind the wealth that comes with it. Well it does and it doesn,t. I don,t like the royal family now at all.Who wants to be related to Charles or the Queen. I don,t.

I don,t envy the average girl who thinks that life will be a bunch of roses.
We don,t need the Royal Family nowadys. After the Queen departs the Monarchy won,t be the same.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

The Royals Watch

Royals on Twitter

Royals on Facebook