With his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, off the market, Prince Harry has become Britain’s most eligible bachelor—a reality he’s coping with rather effortlessly on his tour through Belize, the Bahamas and Jamaica.
The third in line to the British throne has been gallivanting through the Caribbean as part of his first official overseas trip on behalf of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth. Her Royal Highness dispatched the 27-year old to the three Commonwealth countries as part of a 10-day tour to mark her 60th year on the throne—a move she’s unlikely to regret. Thus far Harry has proven himself a skilled diplomat, showing the common touch that characterized his late mother, Princess Diana. In Belize, the first stop on his tour, he drank local rum and danced with women at a street festival. And he demonstrated quick-footed tact when giving solo interviews to the local press. When asked about his favorite memories of his trip, he spread the love across the Central American nation. “The music, the culture, the people—everything is fantastic and I hope to come back again very, very soon,” he said, “hopefully without all the cameras.”
Harry arrived in the Bahamas yesterday, where throngs of fans lined the streets as he made his way to the Christ Church Cathedral to meet the great and the good of the country. When mingling with dignitaries one must cut a sharp figure, dahling. So he wore the “Tropical No 1 Dress of the Blues and Royals”—a uniform comprised of a white jacket, black pants with red stripes, a ceremonial sword and a matching beret. It caused quite the stir. “I’m here to fall in love with Harry,” Anastagia Pierre, the reigning Miss Bahamas, told reporters. “He’s hot! He is single now so I would marry him, yes!” (You may remember her as the woman with an impressive wing span from TIME’s 2011 gallery on the “best” Miss Universe national costumes.)
Later in the day, scores of bikini-clad women blew kisses at the prince as he toured Harbour Island in a golf cart. In a speech delivered in the afternoon, Harry let them know the love affair is mutual. “The Bahamas holds a special place in Her Majesty’s heart. Her love for this realm and you, the Bahamian people, stretches back over the decades, right to that first visit in 1966,” he said. “I am greatly looking forward to the next 24 hours and the chance to explore and meet more of the people of these stunning islands. I hope, for me, that this is the first of many visits.”
Yesterday’s itinerary may have stirred Harry as much as he stirred the locals. He briefly joined the crew of the Bahamian navy as they carried out exercises near Windmere, an island where his parents reportedly had one of their more joyous holidays in a marriage marred with scandal. Charles once referred to the 1982 trip as his “second honeymoon.”
Listening to Miss Bahamas speak, it’s apparent her love affair with the royals remains in an extended honeymoon phase. “I have a fascination with the Royal Family. I have always loved Princess Diana,” she said. “I have listened to every interview she has done. We have enormous respect for the Royal Family in the Bahamas.”
When Harry arrives in Jamaica later this week, he may find that enthusiasm in shorter supply. In Kingston he’ll meet with Portia Simpson Miller, the country’s prime minister. She’s said publicly that Jamaica, which is celebrating its 50th year of independence from Britain, should mark the event by casting off Queen Elizabeth as the ceremonial head of state and becoming a republic. And the resentment runs deep. Speaking to Britain’s Sky News, Verene Shepherd, a professor of history at the University of the West Indies, said she can’t welcome the prince with open arms. “In 1962 we had a kind of political separation. But decolonisation is not complete and Britain needs to make amends,” she said. “There has been no settlement of the debt owed for the capture, enslavement and brutality of British on Jamaicans and our ancestors, and so I’m sorry, I object.”
No wonder that Queen sent young Harry in her place. If anyone can dampen the furor, it’s Prince Charming.