03/11/2012

Prince Harry hits his royal stride in first tour

Harry horse
Prince Harry competes in a charity polo match in Campinas, Brazil, on Sunday. (AP)

He's still the Party Prince, but If there was any doubt about Prince Harry's ability to carry off a royal tour, it has been put to rest over the last week.

Harry horse1On Sunday, the Prince completed the public portion of his tour with a charity polo match on a farm in Campinas, Brazil, in aid of his charity Sentebale. The word means "forget Me not," in memory of his mother Princess Diana, and the group helps children in Lesotho, South Africa.

It's doubtful the four countries Harry visited this last week -- Belize, The Bahamas, Jamaica and Brazil -- will soon forget the 27-year-old Prince. He lived up to his billing as the fun royal, jumping into every activity with enthusiasm, drinking in (sometimes literally) the local scene and charming even the anti-royal politicians along the way.

Harry was in Brazil on behalf of the UK government, pushing his country as a economic and tourist haven as Britian in 2012 features the Olympics as well as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Harry set up Sentebale, which means Forget Me Not, in memory of his late mother, Diana Princess of Wales, to help young children in poverty-stricken Lesotho, southern Africa.

The prince sees it as a personal mission to continue her renowned humanitarian work.

"Prince Harry is worth a thousand politicians," said UK culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, in Brazil with the Prince. "As you can see he has extraordinary celebrity pulling power. But also the way he's approached things here in Brazil, sums up what we're most proud about with the Royal Family.

"He's self effacing, he's interested, he really engages with people, he joins in -- great qualities -- and I just think we're incredibly lucky to have a Royal Family that does such a good job in banging the drum for Britain."

Royal aides have described Harry as being "overwhelmed" by the reception he has been given. But as informal as he sometimes approaches his job, he knows there's plenty of eyes watching in the Royal Household.
"He has never forgotten that he has been representing his grandmother," one aide told the Daily Mail, "whom he loves and respects more than anyone, and has attempted when the occasion is right to retain a sense of gravitas."
For the record, Harry's Sentebale team beat St. Regis in the polo match. That completes as much of a sports tour as any royal has had in recent memory. In the past week, he has played cricket, rugby, beach volleyball, as well as a running against Usain Bolt. Throw in the dancing and Harry at least qualifies as one of the fitter royals around.

Harry now heads to Brazil's interior for a few days of private time, before heading back to Britian and his Apache helicopter training. It's expected Captain Wales will be deploying to Afghanistan later this year.

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Taking a page from his grandfather Prince Philip, who is an avid horse carriage driver, Prince Harry drives a horse carriage as he arrives to play polo in Campinas. (Reuters)

Harry model

Prince Harry kisses Brazilian model Fernanda Motta, during the trophy ceremony of the Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup in Campinas. The annual Polo Cup is designed primarily to raise funds and awareness for Sentebale's work supporting orphans and vulnerable children in Lesotho, South Africa, and some of the money raised will also go to Brazilian charities. (AFP/Getty Images)

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