Prince Harry charms the kids in first outing since wild Vegas trip
Alex Logan had it all rehearsed.
The 6-year-old was due to meet Prince Harry (aka Dirty Harry) at the WellChild Awards in London on Monday and he knew exactly what he was going to say when he got face to face: "I'm glad you've got your clothes on Prince Harry."
Young Alex's mistake was revealing his plan on ITV's lunchtime news and Harry caught wind of it.
When the prince crouched down to the youngster, who suffers from leukemia, the dapper royal made sure he got the first word: "You keep looking up at your mum," he said with a smile and a wag of his finger. "It looks like you're dying to say something but you're worried she'll tell you off. I heard you were on ITV earlier and you said something cheeky -- but lets not talk about that here."
Alex took the hint and instead rubbed his toy penguin Hookie on the Prince's brow. If that's the worst punishment Harry gets for his wild and naked weekend in Las Vegas, he'll gladly take it.
The event was Harry's first public appearance since he bared all during a booze-induced strip billiards game that was caught on camera. Reports are he was worried the media frenzy that ensued would dog him at the charity event and take away from the cause that helps critically ill children, but he kept his smile intact as he greeted the youngsters.
He even managed to slip in a light reference to his recent adventures in his speech at the awards ceremony, which recognizes some of the courageous stories of the kids dealing with illness: "All of you are, quite frankly, too remarkable for me to adequately describe with mere words. But never one to be shy in coming forward, I'll give it a go."
Teaming Harry with kids was a coincidental PR coup. The prince was clearly enamoured with the children, and they with him. One 5-year-old girl, Hope (right), showed her affection with two licks of her tongue on his face.
"But we've only just met," Harry protested with a grin.
The party-prince episode won't disappear just yet, and it'll take more than charitable appearances to wipe out the embarrassing light it shed on the royal. But if Harry has shown anything, it's an ability to charm the masses and, like his grandmother the Queen, just get on with the job.
Prince Harry poses with award winners at the WellChild awards ceremony in London on Monday. The eighth WellChild Awards Ceremony that recognises the bravery or seriously ill children. (AFP/GettyImages)