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Prince Harry given delirious reception as US tour begins in Senate
Prince Harry given delirious reception as US tour begins in Senate
John McCain on hand to shepherd prince through screaming throng more suited to infamous celebrity than dignified royalty
Emma Brockes in Washington; guardian.co.uk, Thursday 9 May 2013 18.29 EDT
It wasn't the entrance of a royal, but of a celebrity. In the high marble atrium of a US Senate building, a scream went up. It sounded like teenagers, but this was a government building at 3.45pm: the noise was in fact from Senate staffers, five deep down the corridors and along the top balcony, phones held aloft, clutching their suit jackets to contain their excitement. Prince Harry dipped his head and took an awkward step forward. More screams from the balcony.
This is the prince's first visit to the US since his adventures in Las Vegas last year, when he was photographed at the sharp end of a game of strip billiards. The seven-day tour, which opened in Washington DC and will take in Colorado, New Jersey and New York before ending in a charity polo match in Connecticut next Wednesday, is impeccably worthwhile, arranged around meetings with charities and good causes. But anticipation has naturally focused on the other stuff.
Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, joked to journalists last month that when, next week, he acts as the prince's chaperone on a tour of a town devastated by Hurricane Sandy: "Nobody's going to get naked, OK? I think I can assure the people of New Jersey that. Much to their relief."
The prince's bad behaviour has only increased affection for him in the US. If William commands affable respect, like his father, and Kate – who is on the cover of People magazine this week under the headline "Kate's Baby Bump Diary! (Her 10 Best Maternity Looks)" is admired as glamorous but rather distant – Harry is his mother's son: of the people.
An hour before he arrived at the Senate, a giddy staffer ran around exclaiming, "Have you seen it in there? There's like one guy in there, and the rest are all women! I've never seen so many women!" There were, indeed, many women, over-dressed for a workday in a variety of pastel cardigans over cocktail dresses and three-inch heels. "Clear them out," said a stern female colleague.
When he appeared, Prince Harry looked stunningly, gleamingly, almost belligerently appropriate, in a navy blue suit and white shirt. He was accompanied by Senator John McCain, half a head shorter and in a state of some bafflement. Together, they toured a photo exhibition of mine-clearance programmes in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, put together by the Halo Trust, a favourite charity of Princess Diana.
The prince stood, hands clasped behind his back, head bowed as if humbled by what he was hearing, with high colour in his cheeks and surprisingly prominent ears. McCain grinned like a shark.
In the middle of the room, two mannequins dressed in landmine clearance outfits nodded to Diana's iconographic photoshoot in Angola, in the late 1990s, and added pathos to the event – although not for long. Every few minutes, more screams issued from behind the security line, causing Harry to frown and McCain to stare intently at a picture of a digger. It was exquisitely embarrassing.
Surprisingly, in this atmosphere, no one breached the protocol forbidding one to address the royals directly, not even the camera crews, one of whom beckoned silently at the prince with his hand, in a mimed version of the paparazzo's art. Harry ignored him and, turning, smiled fixedly at the cameras. McCain flexed his hands as if warming up to strangle someone.
When the visit ended, everyone flocked to the south windows, in a movement that might have tipped over the building, to watch the Prince disappear in a convoy of black SUVs, headed to the White House for an unannounced visit with Michelle Obama.
McCain rushed back up the corridor, waving his arms. "He's gone! He's gone!" he said, with a look on his face it wasn't possible to read. The carnival moved on.
- Who cares about him? He's not paying my bills.
- How embarassing for these ladies.
I remember when Congressional staffers used to have a modicum of decorum. Now they all act like insane fangurls at a Bieber concert.
- How embarrassing. He's trash and those little starfuckers creamed their pants over his mere presence? Oh well. At least Cindy McCain got to fulfill her secret desire (which was revealed by the New York Times in 2008) to be a modern day Princess Diana.
- WW for R2
- It's interesting to read the parts about McCain. His dementia is getting worse but nobody in the media ever mentions it even though it's been out there for five years. It was evident during his campaign for the Oval Office when he began to aimlessly wander around the stage during debates.
- Lol americans have some dignity please
- What bitchy queen wrote that account??
- He has a beautiful voice, I must say.
- Redheads are becoming popular.
- Ooh, he does have a gorgeous voice.
- He's hot. Can we like pass a resolution declaring Prince Harry as the hottest ginger on the planet.
- I giggled hard as a read this piece. The descriptions of McCain: "in a state of some bafflement," "grinned like a shark" really bring up vivid mental images.
I hope this writer follows the prince on his tour.
- "McCain rushed back up the corridor, waving his arms. "He's gone! He's gone!" he said, with a look on his face it wasn't possible to read."
Can McCain rush? Can he wave his arms?
- How long after McCain's death will a former staffer come out with a book that reveals the ways his people covered up the onset of Alzheimers?
- Are the UK taxpayers paying for this privileged douchebag's jaunt?
- It's not news if he's not naked.
- R15, if they are it will be cheaper than any Hawaii vacation where we are stuck with the tab for our privileged douchebag.
- I'm embarrassed for all Americans. What hope do we have as a country when the people who make our laws yearn for the days of absolute monarchy?
- What is the purpose of this visit? Does anyone believe that if he wasn't being scheduled down to the minute he wouldn't be drunk somewhere doing something stupid?
- He travels a lot for charity events. Some for charities begun by his mother. He also invests a lot of time and energy in children's charities. An appearance by Prince Harry can bring in huge amounts of donations.
- R18, we have an entire party like that.
- R17, whom are you comparing Harry to? Harry is neither the head of state nor the head of government, so what the hell does he need a US "tour" for? Just a useless royal living off a posh version of welfare.
- I understand why everyone likes him, but when did it become hard for supposed professionals to contain their squeals of delight?
- Seems like a pretty busy trip for him.
- In pictures: Prince Harry on tour of US
- Mr. Wales
- Give Harry a break. He was born into that family. He does more for charity and good causes than other undeserving rich people, say, L.Lohan, Bieber, Spears, Kardashian etc etc ( and don't tell me they are talented, reading most of the vitriolic comments on DL tells me you don't believe that crock)
- I wonder if William will be like Napoleon and place his brother on a foreign throne. Perhaps William will make Harry the king of America. It would be a good way to cement the alliance.
- R26. That picture proves James Hewitt is Harry's father and has absolutely no line to the throne. I am so glad Diana actually got under someone attractive after having to survive Charles on top of her grunting one out to produce William.
- Home run for Harry? Prince tries baseball
Prince Harry has tried out baseball as part of his trip to the US.
(Video at link)
- Why is it that whenever Harry is in the US, the media has to act like God has arrived? I just don't get all the hoopla. He pisses and shits just like everyone else.
- R29, this has been discussed and settled by his father, Prince Charles. You are a moron.
- Crowds love him and he loves them. He visited NY today and, I think, went to Harlem. He's had a great time.
- You can tell he so hates having to wear clothes
Harry, not John McCain...although I don't know, for all I know John McCain hates wearing clothes too.
- [quote]Prince Harry looked stunningly, gleamingly, almost belligerently appropriate
What kind of shitty writing is that? Sounds like the ancient (or the late?) Georgina Howell, who used to write for British VOGUE.
- can't wait for him to leave, he's fucking up traffic at my workplace right now. He's dining at the four seasons if you want to see him. Dinner at 6pm. he's still there, bet that leaves lots of time for parties! Lavo is right next door, whoo hoo!
- I love the British announcer trying to describe baseball as succinctly as possible.
- [quote] Hi
- zing, zing, zing went my heartstrings . . .
- [quote] Crowds love him and he loves them. He visited NY today and, I think, went to Harlem. He's had a great time.
Did he put on his Nazi uniform for laughs?
- Yeah R41, cos we've never been young and EVER made a bad-taste decision.
- His hairline is retreating quickly. Poor guy.
- Has this photo of Harry been posted before?