By M.A. Romero
Belmopan, Belize 3 March 2012 – Prince Harry concluded his one-day visit to Belize with a tour of the Xunantunich Maya temple in western Belize. The prince toured the ruins of the ancient Maya civilization and climbed to the very top of the 135 foot El Castillo from whence a panoramic view of the surrounding jungle and El Peten in Guatemala can be enjoyed. The day was hot and humid and the prince came down from the summit drenched in sweat but taking the local clime in good stead as he was entertained by Maya dancers who played the marimba and performed their traditional deer hunting dance. To top off the visit to Xunantunich, a marching band complete with cheerleaders from the nearby San Jose Succotz high school livened up the morning event. Photo by Chaa Creek.
The third in line successor to the British throne started off his day early with a visit to the adjacency zone at the western border between Guatemala and Belize and was entertained by schoolchildren from both countries who performed songs of peace waving the flags of Belize, Guatemala and Britain. Belize has a centuries old territorial dispute with Guatemala inherited from the time it was British Honduras.
Harry spent the night at a splendid jungle resort, Chaa Creek, owned by British expats Mick and Lucy Fleming. For security purposes the location of his night lodging was not revealed until today. The Prince visited an on-site tropical butterfly farm, explored medical plant trails and wondered around the extensive rainforest on which the resort sits. The Flemings are a rags to riches story having come to Belize as broke newlyweds who ended up living in the jungle and eventually building a world-class resort.
Last night the prince drank Belize rum and danced with local girls in the streets of the City of Belmopan, Belize’s capital. A street festival was held by city fathers during which he dedicated a new street named in honor of his grandmother and British monarch Queen Elizabeth II. Prince Harry’s ebullient nature even had the country’s stuffy Governor General briefly take a quick dance on the street with a local Garifuna performer.
Thousands of Belizeans turned out to line the streets and public events to get a glimpse of the prince. Dozens of reporters flew in to cover the royal visit. The Belize Tourist Board provided free accommodations, food and transport for the foreign press. The street festival in Belmopan was well covered by the press but today the local government press office authorities restricted movements of the media at the Maya ruin and kept them at a distance. In his last television interview before leaving the country the Prince was asked him what stood out the most for him when in Belize. He promptly replied, “Without a doubt, the people.”
In a letter written to Belizeans while flying to the Bahamas, Prince Harry said:
“Thank you for such a warm and friendly welcome to such a beautiful country.
“In only 23 hours, I feel as though I have seen so much of Belize through the thousands of people who lined the way.
“I am hugely grateful for the very happy memories, and I’m very sad to leave. I will pass on your good wishes to my grandmother, our Queen, on her Diamond Jubilee.
['Thank you in Creole]
See Prince Harry Dancing in Belize and then snooker the Belize Governor General Sir Colville Young into dancing:
Interview with Prince Harry by Belize Tourist Board: