…also known as Prince Harry, will be coming to town tomorrow. One of the perks of being a British Commonwealth country is visiting royals! How fun is that? The prince’s upcoming visit has been all over the Belize news, and the police are closing roads all over the place in preparation for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Block Party here in Belmopan.

For a split second I thought it might be fun to attend and try to catch a glimpse of the prince since he’ll be making a public speech. Then I realized that the ENTIRE country had been invited…via text message if you’re a BTL customer. So the cons kind of outweighed the pros.

Pros:

  • I could possibly get a photo of Prince Harry on my personal camera. But they’ll probably have tons of pictures of him in the paper that I can put in my scrapbook.

Cons:

  • I’m not a fan of crowds.
  • The Belize general elections are coming up next week, and there’s been a lot of crime related to party politics, including one “chopping” incident, as they like to call it here when you’re attending a political rally and are attacked by someone with a machete, and one vehicle arson. The vehicle, coincidentally, belonged to one of the People’s United Party candidates who’s up for election!
  • Local crime is also on the rise. We had two murders, a couple robberies, and a second vehicle arson in the last two weeks…in a town of 20,000 (or 7,000, depending on who you talk to). So we’ve been advised to exercise caution if we’re out and about at all anyway.
  • Besides our son goes to bed at 6pm, so going out would require coordinating with a sitter…even for a short time.

So, ya, I’ll probably stay home and read all about it later.

But they have a pretty full schedule planned for the Third In Line To The Throne. The prince is going to be in the country for approximately 23 hours before heading to Jamaica. Here’s a summary of his itinerary (gleaned from a press release) from TravelBelize.org:

Prince Harry arrives in Belize on Friday, March 2nd by private jet at the Phillip Goldson International Airport. The Prince’s schedule is filled with both formal and informal activities. On the official end, the Prince will be greeted on the tarmac by Sir Colville Young, the Governor General—who is the Queen’s representative in Belize. The royal will also meet Prime Minister Dean Barrow and his wife, Kim Simplis Barrow, at the airport. After those formalities, the Prince will then head west by car to the country’s capital, Belmopan.

 Following a ceremony in which a boulevard will be named in Queen Elizabeth II honour, the royal will attend a street festival called the Diamond Jubilee Block Party. The outdoor party will include lively music, colourful presentations and tasty local delicacies from several of Belize’s diverse ethnic cultures including the Mestizo, Garifuna and Creole. His Highness is also scheduled to make a brief address to the hundreds of students expected to gather at the Street Fest.

On Saturday morning, Prince Harry will visit the Adjacency Zone Office of the Organization of the American States where he will have the opportunity to interact with young artists from both Belize and Guatemala. From there, the Prince will travel across the Mopan River by hand-cranked ferry to the ancient Maya temple of Xunantunich, the Maiden of the Rock. Prince Harry will be welcomed to the site by a Maya Shaman while costumed players perform the traditional Deer Dance. His Highness will then climb the site’s highest structure, El Castillo, which rises 130 feet above the forest floor. In addition to spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding areas, El Castillo also gives visitors a chance to take in impressively intricate stucco friezes that have been restored to their former glory.

In celebration of 2012, the year of the Maya, Belize is offering unmatched opportunities to visitors to immerse in the mysteries of the past and experience first-hand the cultural traditions that live on today. There’s even a special Maya 2012 passport– a souvenir booklet that allows the holder single entry to a number of archaeological sites. Prince Harry’s visit to Xunantunich will also include lunch with young students in one of the main plazas as well as a fashion show where models will take to the runway wearing dresses made from recycled paper and plastic.

Before heading to the airport, Prince Harry will make a stop at the British Army Training Support Unit Belize (BATSUB) to honour soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while participating in training missions in Belize. The royal will then depart the country with an official send off by the Governor General.

Just in case you’re wondering what exactly is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, it’s the anniversary of her 60th year as reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. Her reign is the second longest in British history, after Queen Victoria, who ruled for 64 years. Technically, Queen Elizabeth was coronated in June, so they will be holding the official party in the summer in the UK. But she assumed the throne in February, so they’re starting the party early. Members of the royal family will be touring many of the Commonwealth countries that queen has visited over the last six decades.

For more information on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, check out their official website: www.thediamondjubilee.org.

Long may she reign.

Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation in June 1953.

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