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Comment 03 MARCH 2012

Prince Harry's Caribbean capers delight people of Belize

03 MARCH 2012

It had been scheduled to last a mere 24 hours, but the visit will make a lasting impression.

The royal family's Prince Charming brought what his aides described as his "own brand of enthusiasm" to a trip to Belize marking the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, winning over young and old alike.

With just a little coaxing from his hosts, Prince Harry joined in the fun at a local street party, twirling one lady and then another around to the infectious Caribbean music.



One of his dance partners, Denese Enriquez, 36, gave him a "ten out of ten". "The other girls will be star-struck that I got to dance with him," she said.

After strutting his stuff, the 27-year-old chatted to other partygoers over drinks – sampling hibiscus punch cocktail, lager and stout from the local Belikin brewery and a glass of 15-year-old Don Omarious rum at the insistence of the local mayor.

And the people of Belize, a former British colony, which is now part of the Commonwealth, seemed to appreciate his obvious delight to be there, waving flags and greeting him with banners.

A sizeable throng of well-wishers had been waiting to welcome him at the airport, where dressed in a suit and tie, he was met by the Governor-General Sir Coleville Young.


After a quick change into a baggy Belizean Guayabera shirt , the Prince conducted a naming ceremony for the Queen Elizabeth II Boulevard in the capital Belmopan – modestly joking to the public that they were "stuck with" him rather than his grandma.

"When it became clear that I was to represent my grandmother in Belize, my heart leapt – for a good reason," he said.

"She remembers so fondly her visits to this beautiful realm and speaks of the warmth of welcome she received on her most recent visit in 1994. I'm only sorry she can't make it and you're stuck with me."


In his inimitable style, the monarch's enthusiastic young representative also encouraged the 2,000-strong crowd to make more noise – before finishing his speech by telling them: "Mek we go paaty" or "Let's party" in Creole.

On Saturday, Harry was to travel to Xunantunich – the site of a Mayan pyramid – to learn about the country's extraordinary heritage.

His engagement involved launching a canoe at the Macal River in the Queen's honour. The boat will take part in future river races, a strong local tradition going back thousands of years.


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