HELLO! royal tour diary: day one in Cape Town

Emily Nash

I was lucky enough to spend the weekend in Cape Town, where Prince Harry played in the Royal Salute Sentebale Cup against his friend and Sentebale ambassador Nacho Figueras, the Argentine polo star.

Guests at the event on the magnificent Val de Vie estate watched captain Harry’s Sentebale side lose the tournament for the first time in six years after a thrilling match, which saw the sides neck and neck until the dying seconds of the game.

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Harry's Sentebale side lost the polo tournament for the first time in six years

The already exciting tie had plenty of drama, including the prince taking two right royal tumbles off his horse. But he took the 8-7 defeat graciously, hugging Royal Salute captain Nacho warmly from his saddle and again as they lined up for their photographs against the stunning backdrop of mountains and vivid blue sky.

After a rest day, spent writing about the adorable new photographs of Princess Charlotte, taken by her proud mum Duchess Kate, the royal pack joined Harry again on Monday for the start of his official visit to South Africa on behalf of the UK Government.

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The prince met with Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Harry began by presenting the Companion of Honour to anti-apartheid hero Archbishop Desmond Tutu at his offices on the waterfront in Cape Town. The medal is awarded to people who have made outstanding achievements in arts, culture and religion with several reserved for Commonwealth figures each year.

After a brief conversation witnessed by reporters, the media were ushered out, but howls of laughter were heard coming from the room, so it seems the prince and Archbishop shared plenty of jokes!

#PrinceHarry visits the garden at Ottery Youth Centre, Cape Town. #royalvisitsa #capetown

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We then waited for Harry at the Ottery Youth Centre, a correctional facility for teenage boys caught up in gang-related crime. Harry toured the gardens after meeting pupils inside and hearing about how they were turning their back on their troubled pasts.

Harry took the opportunity to tease brother William, telling the youngsters: "If you've got an older brother that's not into gangs, that's a huge positive. Older brothers are supposedly the cool ones. I'm a younger brother but I'm much cooler than my older brother."

More #PrinceHarry dancing on the pitch at Khayelitsha. #Harrywithkids #royalvisitsa

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Next we moved on to Khayelitsha, which has the highest murder rate of any township in South Africa. The area is full of low-rise shacks, many just made from corrugated iron, and the deprived area is plagued by gun and gang crime. But Harry brought some joy to the Football for Hope Centre, where he enthusiastically joined in with some dancing, chanting and football skills sessions with youngsters learning about HIV/Aids through a partnership with Grassroots Soccer and Premier Skills, which is run by the British Council.

Around 7,500 people in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with the disease every day, with around 1,000 of them in South Africa. Harry, who has worked to raise awareness on the issue through his Sentebale charity and other work, seemed to be enjoying himself despite having to jump around in the blazing sun.

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Four-year-old Sinentlantla Jacobs really took a shine to the VIP visitor

Just before he left, a four-year-old girl called Sinentlantla Jacobs grabbed him by the hand and let him swing her up in the air with the help of a staff member from the British High Commission. She was so taken by the royal visitor that when he let go of her hand to leave she burst into tears.

Once again Harry seems to have worked his magic with children and adults alike. A taxi driver told me “We love him – absolutely love him – over here. He’s like his mother Diana.”