Washington, DC – The arrival of Prince Harry on Capitol Hill Thursday prompted what appeared to be a mass exodus of women from their congressional offices hoping to catch a glimpse of the third-in-line to the British throne.
Harry stopped in the Russell Senate Office Building with Sen. John McCain to tour an exhibit on finding and clearing landmines, though the solemn subject was made somewhat lighter by the occasional hoots from the mostly female spectators snapping a picture of the prince. They were kept at bay by security personnel.
Afterwards, McCain said Harry had what he called a “normal” reaction to the women there to greet him.
“I’m sure it’s not the first time that he’s had that experience,” said the Arizona Republican, who added that Harry seemed genuinely interested in the landmine exhibit.
“He wasn’t just asking cosmetic questions,” McCain said. “He was asking in-depth questions.”
Eliminating landmines was also a cause championed by Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana of Wales. One of the most enduring images of the late princess shows Diana walking through a minefield in Angola wearing a protective vest.
That vest bore the logo of the HALO Trust, the same organization sponsoring the exhibit Harry visited Thursday.
He spent roughly 20 minutes viewing the informational posters and assessing the mannequins set up to display specialized suits worn by landmine detectors. He chatted occasionally with McCain and Guy Willoughby of the HALO Trust, appearing to ask a few questions.
After the prince left Capitol Hill, McCain said: “I found him to be a very attractive young man, and I think he’s very serious about this issue. I was very impressed.”
Later in the day Harry stopped at the White House, where first lady Michelle Obama was hosting an event honoring military moms.
“Surprise!” she said as Harry entered the room.
The visit to Washington was the first stop of Prince Harry’s trip to the United States, during which he’ll also tour damage inflicted by Superstorm Sandy with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
He’ll also fly to Colorado Springs to attend events at the Warrior Games, which are held for injured servicemen and women. His last engagement in the United States comes next Wednesday, when he’ll play in a charity polo match in Greenwich, Connecticut.
By Kevin Liptak
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