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Prince Harry's first stop on USA tour promotes cause close to his mother's heart

9 May 2013
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Prince Harry arrived in the USA to a warm welcome on Thursday afternoon.The first stop of his action-packed seven-day tour was Washington DC as he attended an anti-landmine photography exhibition staged by the HALO Trust, a charity which was very close to the heart of his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales. The 28-year-old prince, as Patron of their 25th Anniversary Appeal, officially launched their land mine exhibition at the Russell Senate Office building. The British group works across Asia, Africa and the Americas to help clear landmines in war-torn countries.

Hundreds of workers from the surrounding area had gathered to try and catch a glimpse of the British royal. The attentive prince was relaxed as he engaged in conversation while being shown the exhibition.

 After his tour, Harry is due at a reception and dinner in honour of the charity's 25th anniversary at the British Embassy where he will meet senior politicians, ambassadors and philanthropists. He is expected speech at the evening event which takes place at the home of Sir Peter Westmacott, Britain's US ambassador, according to reports. The fun-loving prince will thank them for the support that the USA's government and individuals have given to humanitarian mine clearance over the many years since his mother tirelessly helped to draw the world's attention to the shocking legacy of landmines.

The young prince, who is thought to be dating Cressida Bonas, became Patron of the charity in March 2013. He has had a long-standing relationship with the organisation having visited Mozambique in 2010 and seeing the devastating impact that landmines have on communities for himself. The hands-on royal met amputees and witnessed the demining process taking place as well as detonating several mines himself. "Prince Harry takes a keen and active interest in HALO's work and is delighted to support the charity in its 25th year," a St James’s Palace spokesperson said.

On Friday, the RAF Apache co-pilot will visit Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia where he will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He will then move on to the Walter Reed National Military Medical centre, where he will be given a tour of the prosthetics and rehabilitation centre for service personnel. His private secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton said that Harry wanted to highlight "our injured servicemen and women" during the tour. The Prince will spend the evening Denver, Colorado where he will later attend an evening reception hosted by Beverly Simpson, Consul-General to Colorado.

His week-long tour of the USA is his second solo royal tour. It follows the young statesman's immensely successful tour to the Caribbean in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year. But this visit to America is a more sober one, with the focus on promoting the rehabilitation of injured American and British troops as well as publicising his own charities. "He is a soldiers' soldier and will bring a spotlight on what's being done to help these outstanding men and women," said Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton ahead of Harry's visit.

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