HRH Prince Harry faced down the biggest diplomatic hurdle of his Jubilee trip with a big hug. The third-in-line to the throne is in Jamaica, continuing his first overseas trip representing HM Queen Elizabeth. Jamaica was thought to be the most challenging of the visits, as recently sworn in Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has repeatedly said she wants Jamaica to remove the Queen as Head of State and become a republic. Just a few hours before he touched down, the Prime Minister gave an interview discussing the future of the island as a republic and said Britain may want to pay her country compensation for the years of slavery under the Empire. She is a strong supporter of removing the Queen as Head of State, but also was careful to point out that she respected her as person. But when the Head-of-State’s grandson Prince Harry arrived for lunch with the same Prime Minister, they warmly hugged, even holding hands during the photocall. The two looked like old friends as they laughed and posed for pictures.
The Prince’s visit has been wide ranging, from dancing to dining to running. The Prince danced to Bob Marley at the Rise Life project in downtown Kingston. Rise Life continues the Prince’s focus on young people; it provides learning facilities and a safe haven for youngsters in a particularly rundown part of the city. During a banquet at the Governor-General’s residence the Prince gave a well-received speech in which he commented on the Queen’s legacy:
“If I may, just for a moment, I would like to take this opportunity to pay a personal tribute to my grandmother. For me, as for millions of people around the world, her lifetime’s service to others is truly an inspiration. But she combines all her virtues as a leader and as a head of state with those of being a wonderful, caring grandmother – to whom we, her grandchildren, are utterly devoted.”
Harry met Jamaican Olympic hero Usain Bolt and participated in a “fun run” against the legend. When Bolt’s back was turned, Prince Harry took off down the track, scoring a victory while they both laughed. The joke came up again later when the Prince was given a sculpture of the “world’s fastest man” as a gift, he jokingly replied “second fastest!” The Prince will continue on to Brazil for a trade visit after completing his Jubilee visit to Jamaica.
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Sources: BBC, Daily Mail, AP, PA