Prince Harry showed that he is supremely unconcerned about shedding his Playboy Prince tag, as he joyfully played up to his reputation as the Royal family’s designated swinger-in-chief when he attended a block party in Belize last night, knocking back shots of rum and fruity cocktails while busting some ambitious local moves on the dancefloor.
Clad in a white shirt and a pair of dark trousers, the party-loving royal was completely in his element as he danced with men and women, some clad in traditional dress, late into the Belizean night.
At one stage he even sampled a local delicacy, cow foot soup, made from the hooves of cattle.
He made a short speech before renaming a street in the capital HM Queen Elizabeth Boulevard.
He told the 2,000-strong crowd that he was sorry the Queen could not come and “you’re stuck with me”. He dispensed with normal Royal protocol by replying to people in the road who shouted at him to speak up. He concluded by telling people on one side of the street they were not as loud as the other, and urged them to make “a bit more noise” before telling them to “Mek wih go paaty” – or “let the party begin” in the Creole dialect.
On being ushered to a bar tent, he blew out his cheeks and raised his eyebrows appreciatively at the range of drinks on offer.
“It’s the Governor-General’s round,” he said, as he was invited to sample hibiscus punch cocktail, lager and stout from the local Belikin brewery and a glass of 15-year-old Don Omarious rum, which he said was, “Very nice.”
He watched a demonstration of a traditional Creole dance called a Brukdong Bram, and was invited to join in by one of the dancers, 36-year-old Denese Enriquez.
Harry landed in Belize for the start of his first official overseas tour representing the Queen yesterday afternoon, bang on time at 4:25pm for a red carpet welcome with the Governor General of Belize, who represents the Queen in the former colony which still counts the Queen as its head of state.
Harry, dressed in a dark suit, blue shirt and burgundy tie, bounded off the private jet from Miami the moment the engines were shut off, in his haste forgetting to do up his jacket, and was left fiddling with the buttons as he shook hands with local dignitaries and made his way to a small raised dais while the national anthems of Belize and the UK were played.
There was an uncomfortable moment when he made an ill-advised comment about the waiting press corps, saying to the governor general, ‘They’re not with me’, but Harry seemed much more in his element at the block party.
Later today Harry will visit the Adjacency Zone run by the Organisation of American States (OAS) on the border between Belize and Guatemala. The two countries have had bitter border disputes in the past but now the OAS administers a site in the border area for cultural interchanges between people from both nations.
At the site the prince will tour an arts studio, where Belizean and Guatemalan children will be working, an art exhibition and a musical festival. The royal will then travel to Xunantunich—a Maya pyramid. At the Macal River Harry will launch a canoe named in the Queen’s honour. For his final engagement before departing for the Bahamas, Harry will visit a military barracks.