Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Prince Harry in the Caribbean, Day Two: Antigua and Barbuda...and hugs

Prince Harry is given a special guard of honour on his way out of the Sir Viv Richards Stadium
(photo Kensington Palace Instagram)

Prince Harry already has a reputation as the king of royal hugs and as he toured Antigua on day two in the Caribbean, he underlined that and then some. From celebrating with sporting colleagues to helping local children with disabilities, Harry was all about hugs on this part of his tour.

Harry began his day at the Sir Viv Richards Stadium for a Youth Sports Festival which celebrated many of the games and activities played at such a high level in the country.  He had three very special guides for the day - Antigua's three sporting knights, Sir Viv, Sir Curtly Ambrose and Sir Andy Roberts. 

Harry has long been an advocate of using sport to help young people improve their lives and opportunities and he spent a long time meeting children and teenagers who are doing just that. From cricket to tennis to volleyball, there wasn't a sport that Harry didn't try although he might want us all to forget about the golf attempts sooner rather than later.

There was also the obligatory selfie session with wellwishers and fans before Harry headed off through a very special guard of honour.

Prince Harry is carrying out this tour on behalf of the Queen and day two highlighted several of the official functions he is being tasked with. The second part of his day took him to Government House for a Charities Showcase and Harry presented Ineta Wallace with an OBE for her contribution to national development in Antigua. At the start of his tour, Harry had read out a speech from the Queen congratulating the people of Antigua and Barbuda as they celebrate the 35th anniversary of their independence in 2016.

Harry has had constant reminders of his royal life back home during this tour and he signed the guest book in Government House under the watchful gaze of a portrait of his grandmother. And then it was time to lose the jacket and tie and get back to the hugs.

Harry attended a children's party at Government House as part of the showcase, getting a chance to meet many of those who help at organisations across Antigua as well as some of those that they support. From blowing bubbles to getting down on the ground to hug disabled children who can't sit up unaided, Harry spent a long time making those who had come along to party with him feel pretty special.

There were plenty of hugs in return for the prince who was a huge hit at the party. There were performances too, including one by the Women of Self-Esteem Foundation. Harry also met some of the Queen's Young Leaders - he has had a big role in the programme which supports and celebrates inspirational young people across the UK.

The evening of day two saw Prince Harry attend a reception hosted by the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, held at Barnacle Point.

There was plenty of the usual royal tour itinerary, including presentations and a chance to meet local people, as well as the unexpected as Gaston Browne invited Prince Harry to spend his honeymoon in the country. The prince blushed and gave no sign as to whether we can expect Meghan Markle to make the move to royal duchess any time soon before diving back into the royal reception and putting the love life references behind him.

Day three of Harry's Caribbean tour will see him head to Barbuda. You can keep up to date with all the details on the special page here.

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