New York, May 30: Twenty years and four months after his mother had New Yorkers in ruptures during a royal visit, Prince Harry, too captured the fancy of the city's residents.
His visit mainly focused on charity and a commemoration of the Sept. 11 attacks. It was described as a somber visit, clearly designed to modify the prince's tabloid reputation as a party hopper with a penchant for blunders. Prince Harry laid a wreath at the site of the World Trade Center within hours of his arrival from London on Friday, May 29.
He also spoke to firefighters and relatives of 9/11 victims and looked over blueprints for the site's reconstruction. A memorial to the 67 British people killed at theWTC was dedicated in the British Garden at Hanover Square, where he planted the magnolia and attended a private meeting withvictims' families.
In the afternoon, he was accompanied by a British soldier, Joe Townsend, who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan, to the Veterans Affairs Hospital on East 23rd Street. He visited the prosthetics section and met wounded veterans. On Saturday, Harry is scheduled to visit the Harlem Children's Zone with PrinceSeeiso of Lesotho, who is his co-patron in a charity called Sentebale.
In the afternoon, the prince, an accomplished polo player, is to take part in a match on Governors Island, the proceeds of which will go to American Friends ofSentebale. Harry is scheduled to leave for home right after the match. The program has left little time for personal amusement.
Peter Brown, a British publicist in New York who once ran the Beatles' management company and advised the Consulate on Princess Diana's visit in February 1989, said it all sounded familiar. When he was helping to plan Harry's mother's trip, the directive was clear: "She must at no time look like she was enjoying herself."
However, Diana did manage to enthrall, wowing an audience at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and attending a banquet at the World Financial Center. But she also toured the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side and cuddled children with AIDS - pointedly without donning gloves - in the pediatric unit at Harlem Hospital Center.