Britain's Prince Harry is wrapping up his week-long visit to the United States today. Harry began his trip to the U.S. on May 9. During his tour, he visited Colorado and the east coast, including areas in New Jersey hit hard last October by Hurricane Sandy.
Harry, 28, is the son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and third in line to the British throne, after his father and oldest brother William, the Duke of Cambridge. On Wednesday afternoon, the royal son will end his stay by playing in the fourth annual Sentebale Polo Cup in Greenwich, Connecticut. Sentebale—which means "forget-me-not"—is a charity co-founded by Harry that helps poor and sick children in the small African nation of Lesotho.
Supporting the Troops
During his tour, Harry made several stops to support members of the U.S. military and their families. He visited the Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Maryland and Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The prince, who has completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan as a helicopter co-pilot, paid his respects to soldiers injured or killed in the line of duty. He also spoke with members of the Halo Trust, a charity that helps to clear landmines and war debris. His late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, supported the charity.
For Mother’s Day, Prince Harry visited the White House and welcomed military moms to a tea party. “Surprise!” First Lady Michelle Obama told the guests, many of whom were service members in the U.S. armed forces and were not expecting to be greeted by British royalty. Prince Harry helped some of the 50 children in attendance make goody bags for their mothers.
In Colorado over the weekend, Prince Harry attended several events at the 2013 Warrior Games. The competition features activities for more than 200 wounded or ill servicemen and women. Veteran athletes from both the U.S. and Britain took part in the games. Harry and U.S. Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor participated in a sitting volleyball exhibition match alongside injured troops.
U.S. Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin and Harry formally started the games by running the last leg of a torch relay. Later that night the prince joined the crowd to sing "Happy Birthday" to Franklin, who turned 18.
Part of Harry’s visit was spent visiting homes and residents affected by Hurricane Sandy. On Tuesday, he visited Mantoloking and Seaside Heights, two New Jersey towns devastated by the storm.
In Seaside Heights, Harry and his tour guide, N.J. Governor Chris Christie, greeted construction workers who have been working on rebuilding the town’s boardwalk. The structure is now about two-thirds complete.
“It’s fantastic, the American spirit, isn’t it?” the prince said to reporters. “Everyone getting together and making things right, it’s fantastic.”
Prince Harry and the Governor played a boardwalk game in which they threw plastic balls into holes to win prizes for children in the crowd. Harry suggested to a girl partnered with him, seven-year-old Allie Cirigliano of Middletown, that she pick a blue penguin as a prize. She chose a Hello Kitty doll instead. "Don't listen to me," the prince said with a laugh.
In Mantoloking, Christie showed Harry a spot where the sea had cut the town in half, taking out a bridge and houses. Every one of the town's 521 homes was damaged or destroyed in the natural disaster. Residents were not allowed back until February, but piles of rubble remain.
One handwritten sign read: "Prince Harry please come back when we're restored."