Royal Roundup: Prince Harry Wows the Caribbean

Prince Harry with Miss Bahamas 2011 Anastagia Pierre and Sasha Joyce (left), Miss World contestant, at reception in Nassau, The Bahamas. (John Stillwell/AP Images)

Prince Harry got a “rock star” reception in the Bahamas, wrote Sky News.

As usual, he’s attracted the attention of the ladies. Today, he met not one but two beauty pageant queens, one of whom, Miss Bahamas, made headlines yesterday when she announced, “I came here to fall in love with Prince Harry. He’s hot. He is single now, so would I marry him? Yes.”

However, when Miss Universe contestant Anastagia Pierre actually met Harry, reports the Mirror, “the 23-year-old turned all coy on the eligible royal bachelor as they chatted.”

When the two were introduced, Harry said, “You’re the one,” referring to all the media attention about her prior comments.

Pierre said she told Harry what she’d meant.

“I said it was supposed to be light hearted, and it had been blown out of all proportion,” the model explained, “and he said, ‘It always is.’”

Harry is on a seven-day trip to the Caribbean as a royal representative of Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee.

A few days earlier, Harry was in Belize, sipping rum, partying in the streets and climbing to the top of a Mayan pyramid, reported the Belizean.

Harry told a crowd there that “his heart leapt” when he found out that he had been chosen to visit the Central American country by his grandmother.

“I’m only sorry she can’t make it and you’re stuck with me,” he said.

Still, officially representing the Queen is “a significant moment for Prince Harry and the enduring institution he represents,” says BBC News royal correspondent Peter Hunt. “With Prince Edward and his wife already in the West Indies and Harry visiting the Caribbean, it’s a reminder the Queen still reigns in 16 countries.” (Prince Edward and the Countess of Essex are nearing the end of their trip – the first of the Jubilee visits by royal family members – during which they are visiting Grenada, Barbados and Antigua, among other islands.)

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On the next stop in his Caribbean tour, Harry may have to deal with matters of more substance than beauty queens and rum-drinking. In Jamaica, he’s likely to get a warm reception, says BBC News, but “he will also find himself in the middle of a debate over whether Jamaica should replace the Queen as head of state and become a republic.”

Jamaica formally declared independence from Britain in 1962, after more than three centuries of British rule. But there are many in Jamaica who want to remove the last vestiges of their colonial past, including the country’s newly-elected Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, with whom Harry will meet.

“We need to complete the circle of independence,” Simpson-Miller said at her inauguration. “We will initiate the process of our detachment from the monarchy to become a republic with our own indigenous head of state.”

“We respect Britain,” Jamaica’s Justice Minister Mark Golding told the BBC. “The British people shouldn’t take this as any kind of slight. It’s not about that. It’s about a country coming of age and wanting to repatriate its sovereignty – and that’s the path we’re all on.”

While talks within the government are already underway, it’s unclear exactly what the eventual path will be. After legislative approval, a break with the monarchy would require a three-fifths majority in a popular referendum.

And, as republicans have discovered in Australia, the monarchy can maintain a strong hold on popular opinion. In a recent poll, 60 percent of Jamaicans said the country would have been better off today had it remained a British colony.