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Prince Harry ‘happy to be back in UK’ during London trip

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Prince Harry 'happy to be back in UK' during London trip

The Duke of Sussex has told the BBC it has been great to be back in the UK this week.

The BBC was given exclusive access to Prince Harry’s final engagement during his short trip to London.
He was the surprise guest at a party hosted by the charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers, which supports the bereaved children of military personnel.
Prince Harry threw himself into the spirit of the party.
Within minutes of arriving, his jacket was off, he had a bucket on his head and teams of children were targeting him with plastic balls.Prince Harry 'happy to be back in UK' during London trip

It was a side of him that we’ve not seen so much of lately – on show was the fun, informal prince.
In comparison, other recent visits have been more sombre or formal, such as the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, an appearance at the High Court to give evidence during the phone-hacking case, the King’s coronation, and a visit to see his father after King Charles’s cancer diagnosis.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped back as senior Royals in January 2020, and that year they moved to California, saying they wanted space to raise their son, Archie. Their daughter Lilibet was born there in 2021.

 

Prince Harry’s visits back to London are not straightforward. Relationships between him and other Royals remain broken and there was no fix to be had this week. The prince and King Charles were at events just two miles apart on Wednesday but didn’t meet up. . A statement from the duke attributed this to his father’s “full programme”, but said that he “hopes to see him soon”.
Despite these strained relationships, Harry told me it was “great” to be back in the UK.
Speaking about attending the party, the prince said it was “amazing”.
“What Scotty’s is doing with these kids is absolutely incredible and very needed as well.
“The more opportunity you get to do these kinds of events, the more the families and kids know this place exists which is really the most important thing.”
We spent around an hour with Harry.

Since the prince left the UK for the US, it has been rare to see him up close in a context such as at the Scotty’s party.
He talked privately to a group of them about how he’d coped with the death of his mother, Princess Diana, and offered his own advice on dealing with the pain.
Nikki Scott founded Scotty’s Little Soldiers after her husband, Lee, was killed in Afghanistan in 2009.

 

“I would imagine Prince Harry got so much from that room and had so much fun and joy that I wouldn’t mind betting that he’s probably thinking about those children right now because it does that to you, it really makes you think, these children are incredible,” she said.
As well as showing his compassionate side, when it came to the party games, Harry was competitive.

He was on the winning team for the fastest consumption of a strawberry lace sweet but less successful when it came to rolling a Malteser down a tape measure into someone’s mouth – something he learnt required a high level of skill.
And no chocolate went to waste. At least three Maltesers that rolled off the tape were picked up off the floor and eaten by the fifth in line to the throne.

 

This party was the first event he’d been able to attend in person with Scotty’s Little Soldiers, after becoming a global ambassador for it in November and having previously been involved since 2017.
As the party wrapped up – there were goodies to hand out and take home.
For Prince Harry that included a Lego figure of himself.
The family fallout and the move to California has limited what Prince Harry has been able to do for the organisations he supports in the UK.
These kind of events are now a personal rather than royal duty.
While family ties remain fractured, Prince Harry’s charity work is an important link to the place that was once home.

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