Prince Harry gives as good as he gets in traditional paint fight

Gemma Strong

There was laughter amid a riot of colour as Prince Harry was plastered with powder paint during a visit to a school in the foothill of the Himalayas. The good-natured royal took part in a traditional paint fight in celebration of Holi – the festival of colour – and he certainly gave as good as he got.

The ceremony began with the school's head girl Juna Garang, 15, smearing red paint on Harry's bearded cheeks, but things very quickly escalated when his former Army colleague, Gurka officer Major Prakash Gurung, slapped paint on the Prince's shoulder.

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Prince Harry was covered in paint during the celebration of Holi

"Thanks!" said Harry with a grin, before scooping up a big handful of paint and throwing it back in return. The scene soon descended into good-natured chaos – the royal, his staff, his bodyguards and even the journalists ended up being covered in paint by their Nepali hosts.

The Prince was visiting the school in the village of Okhari, which sits 4,500ft up in the mountains, to see how the Gurka Welfare Trust is helping to refund the building of the facility following last year's earthquake.

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The fun-loving royal quickly got into the spirit of things

He trekked for an hour down the hillside, having spent the night as the guest of an 86-year-old Gurka widow. After being shown around the school, Harry played volleyball with the children, before the Holi ceremony began.

The Prince had managed to wash off most of the paint by the time he left the school, but his shirt was still heavily stained as he walked down a mountain path to a helicopter waiting to take him to his next engagement.

Harry had earlier described the experience of sleeping under the same roof as a Nepalese family as "amazing". He had slept in a sleeping bag in the home of widow Mangali Tamang, and woken early to see the spectacular sunrise over the mountains.

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Harry spent the previous night with a Napalese family, and woke to watch the sunrise

"It was amazing really, peaceful actually," he told the Telegraph. "Lots of dogs barking, but it didn't seem to bother them, apparently the locals, they're happy if the dogs are barking, but they're not happy if they dogs are not barking."

Mrs Tamang had dished up a meal of rice, chicken curry, mixed vegetables, dahl and pickles for the Prince and his entourage the previous night.

It had been cooked by her daughter-in-law Guan Shobra Tamang, 53, with the help of some Gurkhas. The Prince followed local custom and ate with his fingers as he sat between the two women.

"The family were fantastic, we had a proper feast of a meal and then they vanished, that was it, never saw them again," he said.

"We all went to bed early so we were tucked up by half past eight, then everything started to come to life at quarter past, half past five."