If the rest of the tour is anything like his first stop, I think it’s safe to say Prince Harry’s going to knock this one out of the park. Admittedly, a royal tour like this is a pretty soft sell. Local foods, cute chilluns, native music and pulling back teeny curtains to revel plaques — not much to mess up in that scenario. But nonetheless someone with sandy neither regions will always look to find fault with a royal in the midst of their oh so taxing 9-5 work. Harry of course is no exception. To that later. First, the good bits.
The thankless royal press crew arrived in Belize over the course of a couple of days ahead of PH. Their early tweets found them wilting in the Texas winter weather (mid to high 80s F) like the dainty English roses they no doubt are. Already, I was envisioning Harry with a lovely sunburn the next time we spot him at the Arts Club (I hope Jaime L-P carries Coppertone for him.) Praise was high though for the little central American country from the advance press corps. Twitpics of exotic wildlife and food that probably wasn’t half as good coming out as it was going in were teasing us about the hectic 23 hours to come. One video report by Max Foster made me laugh as we saw the preparations for the street party to come But, hey, Belize only has 350,000 people! This was the place to see Harry. I think they were all at that party!
Before the big pachanga, though, Hazza had to make it there and apparently some fog had delayed his flight from Miami. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one staring at the crappy feed of Belizean tv with the dubbed over commentary by Love FM, waiting for his private jet to land. Oh, I was the only one? Well, uh, yeah, anyway he actually wasn’t late. Because that’s how cool he is, fog be damned.
After “de-planing” (hate that word) he was met by an armed honor guard and Belizean government officials. He stood on a dodgy platform and looked solemn while a band played “God Save the Queen.” He made a very-Harry cheeky one-off as he passed the press, “They’re not with me.” Top form.
Next time he was seen out was that night at the Belmopan Street Festival. He gave a speech, properly praising his grandmother and his host country, and apologizing to the crowd that she couldn’t make it herself. Instead he told them, “You’re stuck with me.” The rowdy crowd didn’t seem to mind though and Harry spoke extemporaneously, telling one side they needed to turn up the volume a bit in order to keep up with the other. So many stories commented on this off the cuff as “breaking protocol.” Come on… One of my few criticisms of Harry when he’s doing his public bits is that he relies so heavily on notes. He usually just manages a glance up every minute or two. Kind of makes you wish they’d at least give him a teleprompter. Speaking off the cuff is nice. The monarchy isn’t going to come crumbling down around everyone’s heads because he says a few words that aren’t written down for him.
After the speech there was a teeny curtain & plaque moment renaming the be-festivaled street after HM and then it was on the real point of the evening. (Not really, I think that was supposed to be the teeny curtain-moment.) Harry was escorted to a bar area where he sampled local beer (Belkin, on my list now), rum and a rum punch cocktail. So many drinks! But he HAD to! It’s his ROYAL DUTY TO DRINK ALL THE DRINKS! He is so dutiful. Best royal evah. Now, I don’t have to tell you what comes after the drinking of all the rums. No, not falling in the pool. That’s after the drinking of all the vodkas. AFTER THE RUM, IT’S TIME FOR THE DANCING!
There are ladies out there who love to see Hazza dancing. I am not one of them. It makes me want to pat him on the head and say “such a cute boy,” but I don’t think boys like that. I would say “Please don’t dance in public, Harry,” but how could I deny the lovely women he did the “punta” with him a chance to hold back their laughter and all the press of the world the chance to make it sound like Harry was wearing a lampshade on his head? Dance on, Harry, dance on.
Not much has come out yet about the early part of day two. Just a couple of shots from the Belize tourism people of Harry leaving his hotel an one of him meeting with children at the OAS Adjacency Zone. The big event of the day was a little jaunt up Mt. Castillo, one of the temples at the Xunantunich Mayan ruins. Gorgeous. Conspiracy-ish. Apparently the press weren’t allowed up there (except for Chris Jackson I guess who got a great shot of Harry cresting the top.) Is this because Harry, as an heir to the throne, was one of the privileged few who could access the great Mayan secrets? Like whether or not the world is due to end the 12th of this December? If they told him that kind of stuff, I hope he plans to share. My birthday is December 11th and I’d like to know if I should get “For F’s sake, I’m getting even older?”-level wasted or “Well that’s THAT then!”-level wasted. Important stuff. DM me, Spike.
The lovelies at the Belizean Tourism board – who did a bang up job at tweeting pics and original content throughout his visit – scored this interview with him post-temple Illuminati meeting.
Finally, some UK papers were being a little lazy methinks by constantly trotting out the “will Harry finally grow up this time?” schtick. I’m not going to beat my breast about this – “Oh noes, you’re all so MEAN to him! Not fair!” – because we’re all grown ups. Hazza has dug a hole from himself that, thanks to mental laziness and a tabloid culture, he’ll never fully escape. He’ll be an old crooked man, balder than his brother, and people will still be bringing up the Nazi costume. He knows this. Which is why he probably continues to fall into Croatian pools. Who does he have to impress? Those who care to pay more than a millisecond of attention to him know he’s grown up. Stacked up against all the other royals, he pulls his weight. Who cares if he still likes the odd tipple? Doesn’t make him a degenerate *goes for a sip of wine.*
But some writers are determined to make him out to be the Rush Limbaugh of the Royal family. One writer at the Daily Beast called his “They’re not with me” comment a gaffe despite the press it was directed to finding it a right laugh. I kind of think this guy was just wanting to get attention for his story. Mission accomplished, my friend! Meanwhile, representing the press from this side of the pond, CBS’s Charlie D’Agata says Harry “long ago shed the reputation as the party prince.” THANK YOU CHARLIE! You have won yourself a spot on my list of sweetheart journos. (Other spots occupied by @MaxFosterCNN and @RoyalReporter, if you’re wondering.)
So, yeah, stop making party prince jokes. Just makes you look lazy.
Oh, one last thing: I love What Kate Wore to pieces so will never pass up the chance to imitate. Harry’s sporting new Clark’s Desert boots this trip. That along with the new Rolex he started wearing last month (a gift for finishing training perhaps?) and the Mexican wedding shirt he wore last night (aka a Guayabera) and we’ve got Harry style news! About time. Our boy’s not always rocking that PHS despite being, well, PH.
Here are links to galleries and stories. People on the ground are posting tons of great candids as they happen. Check the twitter feed for links. I’m second-guessing how I use photos here, if at all, so I can’t be arsed to collect twitpics & yfrog posts right now. But they’re great. Go look for them.
- Zimbio gallery
- - Daily Mail, day 2
- Moves like Jagger – PopSugar
- the Belize Tourism Board
- Strictly One Dancing
Prince Harry … The King of Creole – The Sun
- Dancing video (the horror!) via @julesskynews
- Video of Mayan ruins visit via Vimeo
- Video: Bob Woodruff’s report on Good Morning America
- Prince Harry dances, sips, hugs and sightsees across Belize – USA Today