This year, the Queen of England marks her 60-year reign. And in celebration of the diamond jubilee, as the celebration is called, members of the Royal Family are being sent on official visits to current and former holdings of the British crown.
Twenty seven-year-old Prince Harry was assigned Belize, the Bahamas, and Jamaica in what is his first state trip representing the royals. The visit, said the prince's press secretary, Miguel Head, is intended to reinforce the friendly relationships among nations and to put a younger face on royalty for a new generation that didn't grow up under the traditional colonialist system.
For the countries on the jubilee itinerary, these visits offer the opportunity to show off local culture, and, in many cases, to boost local tourism. For a country like Belize, which is still largely under the radar as a popular travel destination, Prince Harry's visit raises the country's profile.
Dyon Elliott, formerly Media and Public Relations Officer at the Belize Tourism Board and currently editor of the local paper Reporter Press said, "The Prince's visit is very significant because, in terms of publicity that Belize gets from the international media that followed him, Belize gains increased awareness in Europe and other parts of the world that are following his journey."
While many members of the media pool focused on Prince Harry's sampling of local brews, his visit to Belize offered him a glimpse of many other aspects of the country's diverse, rich culture. Though his visit was brief, clocking in at just under 24 hours, press secretary Head said the prince enjoyed his visit and looked forward to learning more about the country during future visits.
Julie Schwietert Collazo is a freelance writer based in New York City.