A royal affair
At least for one night, all thoughts of banishing the monarchy from Jamaica's "sea to shining sea" were swept under a red welcome carpet at King's House when Governor General Sir Patrick and Lady Allen hosted a dinner for visiting Prince Henry of Wales.
Some 260 specially invited members of the political, diplomatic, business and social circles were invited to sip cocktails and dine on a Jamaica Pegasus hotel-catered meal (see our Food section next Thursday for details). But not before receiving the royal red-carpet photo-op treatment from local and international press and sipping cocktails on the garden terrace to the sounds of the Jamaica Military Band.
When Prince Harry arrived, escorted by Governor General Sir Patrick and Lady Allen, those seeing the handsome son of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, gasped audibly as they remarked on his height, good looks and obvious charm. To Dr Peter Phillips, minister of finance, and those around him, he said he'd had a long day. But he still stood up to the rigours of shaking hands and offering a word of greeting to everyone whose hand he shook.
The dinner was served in the ballroom and, in his welcome, Sir Patrick told the prince he was happy to host him on the occasion of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II's 60th year on the throne. He said he hoped Prince Harry would take back pleasant memories of his stay to England and added that he and Lady Allen would be attending the official celebrations for The Queen later this year.
In his reply, Prince Harry spoke of the special place Jamaica held in his grandmother's heart, describing the country as a place of immeasurable beauty and warmth. "My grandmother is grateful for the way you have embraced her diamond jubilee," he noted.