Playboy Prince No More?
Can Harry Shed the Playboy Prince Tag?
Prince Harry touches down in Belize later today, on his first official overseas trip representing his grandmother.
Britain’s Playboy Prince really does have all the luck. Not only has Harry got a full head of hair, but he gets to date underwear models and cocktail waitresses, ride Harleys to Vegas and fly Apaches round the desert. His brother, Prince William, by contrast, spends his working days rescuing stranded hill walkers and foolish sailors in a lumbering Sea King.
Now, while William is eking out a monkish existence on canned food on the rocky South Atlantic outcrop that is the Falkland Islands, Prince Harry is in the air to the tropical paradise of Belize, a former British colony where the Queen is still head of state. According to the Prince’s private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, the destination was selected specially for him as a good fit by his grandmother. He’ll touch down just after 4pm local time.
But this is no lad’s holiday. Harry is formally representing the Queen, and royal insiders say there is pressure on Harry to step up to the plate, act like a grown-up, and not get caught out by cellphone cameras letting his hair down when he flies onto Brazil for a private holiday.
Of course, there is temptation everywhere when you have Harry’s reputation. The Belizeans, for example, are organising a ‘Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Block Party’, and company executives from the local brewing company, one of the island’s biggest employers, are heavily involved.“It is a privilege when a member of the royal family visits, and we are honoured to participate in Prince Harry’s visit by having ice-cold Belikin beer at each of his stops,” says Michael Bowen, CEO of the local brewing company.
Is this a good idea? Probably not. But Harry’s team have already committed him to launching a native canoe by smashing a bottle of Belikin over the hull.After Belize, Harry will head for the Bahamas, via Windermere island, his mother Diana’s favourite holiday location, and then it’s on to Jamaica for a three-day visit, during which time he is hoping to have a ‘friendly’ race against Usain Bolt. Let’s hope Harry’s in better shape than last time he worked out in public.
However, after the track-side photocall, Harry has an extremely delicate meeting with Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, who said in January that she intended to remove the Queen as head of state to turn the country into a republic. The 27-year-old will need to display a level of tact and diplomacy with which he has not previously ever been associated.
After his royal duties come to an end in Jamaica, Harry is off to Brazil on a trip designed to ‘enhance’ the partnership between the United Kingdom and Brazil, which has become somewhat strained lately thanks to the fact that Brazil is lending soft diplomatic support to Argentina’s claim to the Falklands. It seems likely that Harry will be dogged by protestors in Brazil.
His formal engagements in Brazil conclude with a polo match for a Lesotho children’s charity of which he is patron. Harry will be captaining one team, Nacho Figueras the opposition.
After the diplomatic push is over, Harry has got three days off, staying in Brazil until March 14 on what his staff are insisting is a ‘private holiday’. This is where the greatest nervousness exists in Harry's camp. It seems almost inevitable that after ten days of hand-shaking and smiling, Harry will be in the mood to let rip. Harry’s team, however, are praying that their man can dial down the celebrations, in the full knowledge just one Party Prince headline will be enough to overshadow the whole trip, and bring up short the project to recast Harry as a serious, working Royal.