Harry in his mother's footsteps

 It wasn’t exactly what the British press had flown 3,500 miles to see: Prince Harry upstaged by a tree.
But there was the seething mass of news people penned behind police barricades, there was the tree — a Magnolia “Elizabeth,” just planted in a downtown Manhattan memorial garden — and there was His Royal Highness, Princess Diana’s younger son, third in line to the throne and a veteran of the Afghanistan war, shoveling soil, half-hidden behind the leaves.
“Harry, we can’t see you!” voices brayed. “Come around front!” The prince obliged, happy no doubt to be making the kind of news that would not leave his family cringing.
Twenty years and four months after his mother enraptured New York with her own royal visit, Prince Harry, 24, arrived in a city fought over by his forebears, with a ginger toe-dipping in the waters of international relations, centring on acts of charity and a commemoration of the September 11 attacks. It was a sombre visit clearly designed to temper the prince’s tabloid reputation as a hearty partier with a penchant for gaffes, like making derogatory videos and wearing Nazi regalia to a costume party.
Flag-waving crowds lined up to cheer him, with adoring young women particularly plentiful. One was Roseanne Krylowski, 25. “I’m hoping to have a detailed conversation that ends with him asking for a date,” she said.
Within hours of arriving from London on Friday on a commercial ticket that was privately paid for by his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, the strawberry blond prince laid a wreath at the site of the World Trade Centre. He spoke to firefighters and relatives of 9/11 victims and looked over blueprints for the site’s reconstruction.
Then he dedicated the British Garden at Hanover Square, between Stone and Pearl Streets, which is a memorial to the 67 British people killed at the trade centre. He planted the magnolia there and attended a private meeting with victims’ families.
In the afternoon, accompanied by a British soldier, Joe Townsend, 21, who lost his legs in Afghanistan, Prince Harry, who is training to be a helicopter pilot, toured the Veterans Affairs Hospital.
The prince, an accomplished polo player, is to take part in a match, with proceeds going to American Friends of Sentebale. He plans to leave for home right after the match. The schedule left little time for personal amusement — which seemed to be the point.
Peter Brown, a British publicist in New York who once advised the Consulate on Princess Diana’s visit in February 1989, said it all sounded familiar. When he was helping to plan Harry’s mother’s trip, the directive was clear: “She must at no time look like she was enjoying herself.”

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