World

Prince Harry's Visit to Belize
The young prince visited the Central American country to celebrate the Queen of England's diamond jubilee celebration. 

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Locals were thrilled by the prince's visit and those who had the opportunity for a personal exchange with him made a memory that will last forever. Said First Lady, Kim Simplis-Barrow, "Prince Harry's visit meant a lot for us. He brought great excitement and enthusiasm, and was so down to earth, interacting with locals. The Royal Family should be very proud of his representation. He was very engaging when he met with Prime Minister Barrow and myself, and said he is already thinking about a return visit."

(Julie Schwietert )

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Preparations for Prince Harry's arrival began months before he touched down at the Belize City International Airport in his private jet, but on the afternoon of his arrival, all hands were on deck for a final review of the logistics plan. Prince Harry's driver, Glen Shephard, polished up the Range Rover and prepared to change the British flag to the prince's own flag. Shephard is the driver for the British High Commissioner in Belize and is often charged with the task of driving high profile guests visiting the country.    

(Julie Schwietert)

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The red carpet was rolled out for the prince, who was greeted by a military contingent that raised the flag and a band that played "God Save the Queen." The Governor General of Belize, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, and opposition party leader Francis Fonseca were some of the officials on hand to greet the prince during the formal welcome.

(Julie Schwietert)

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From Belize City, the prince was taken to the capital city, Belmopan, where he renamed a street in honor of his grandmother. After offering some remarks to commemorate the occasion, the prince sampled local food and drinks and was treated to dance and music performances representing the different cultural groups of Belize. Belize, the most culturally diverse country in Central America, is home to large Garifuna, creole, and mestizo populations; there are also smaller East Indian, Chinese, Taiwanese, and Lebanese communities.  

(Julie Schwietert)

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Musicians, dancers, chefs, and other Belizeans invited to participate directly in the festivities gave their all for the prince. These young musicians are from the Panerrifix Steel Band, which played at the street festival held in Belmopan. Steel pan is one of many  types of popular music played in Belize, which has a vibrant musical culture.

(Julie Schwietert )

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Prince Harry's day started early on Saturday with a morning visit to the OAS Adjacency Zone on the Belize-Guatemala border. The Adjacency Zone was established almost a decade ago with the purpose of monitoring and diffusing tensions related to a territorial dispute between the two countries; the visit was the only overtly political stop on an otherwise culturally-focused agenda. Following his OAS visit, the prince arrived at the Maya site of Xunantunich, which was used as a ceremonial center in the Classic Period. He climbed the Castillo, the largest structure on the site, and surveyed the area with an archaeologist from the National Institute of Culture and History.

(Julie Schwietert )

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Those who couldn't meet Prince Harry up close still waited to catch their glimpse of him; locals lined the roadside from San Ignacio to Belize City to get their peek at the prince. Some, like the woman holding the poster, came from as far away as Cancun, Mexico.

(Julie Schwietert )

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Though the prince had seemed nervous upon his arrival in the country, he warmed up considerably, engaging easily with locals. It seemed that one of the highlights for the prince was his visit to Price Barracks, which is the headquarters of the Belize Defense Force and the British Army Support Unit Belize. Prior to laying a wreath at the Memorial for British Soldiers, the prince spent time reviewing and testing out military gear, and seemed to particularly enjoy climbing aboard the BDF's and Coast Guard's vessels.

(Julie Schwietert )

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Following dance and music performances at the Maya site, the prince enjoyed a private lunch of traditional cochinita en pibil with local children with disabilities, which was organized by the First Lady of Belize, Kim Simplis-Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children and Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics.

(JC Cuellar)

Prince Harry's Visit to Belize

The young prince visited the Central American country to celebrate the Queen of England's diamond jubilee celebration. 

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