Attention aspiring princesses: Prince Harry has almost landed.
On Friday, the 24-year-old prince begins a two-day tour of New York City, his first international trip as a representative of the British royal family. Among other things, he'll meet with families who lost loved ones on September 11 and visit soldiers injured in Afghanistan and Iraq at Manhattan's Veterans Affairs Medical Center. (See pictures of Prince Harry in Afghanistan.)
With those engagements in mind, the royal heartthrob, who has a well-known penchant for long, alcohol-fueled nights, won't be hitting New York City's dance floors. "Quite frankly I think he will be cream-crackered and will want a good night's kip," said the prince's private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton.
By which he meant that Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, will need his rest. On Saturday, he'll face off with Argentine model Nacho Figueras at the Veuve Clicquot Manhattan Polo Classic on Governor's Island to raise funds for Sentebale, the charity he set up in 2006 to benefit vulnerable children in Lesotho. Sentebale, which supports numerous orphanages and educates people about HIV/AIDS, could use the boost. Income from donations plummeted 84% during the last financial year. (See pictures of Africa's AIDS crisis.)
Kedge Martin, the CEO of Sentebale, says the recession presents challenges for all charities, and denies that Sentebale has been hit especially hard. "We're a strong and robust organization," she says. "The focus for that bank year had been to expand our work on the ground and to reach out to even more children and families. There wasn't a focus on fund raising."
And while refined Brits hate to talk about money, Harry's secretary announced that the Queen will cover the estimated $40,000 trip out of her own pocket rather than dumping it on the taxpayer. "As it's not a full-fat royal trip," Lowther-Pinkerton said, "the Queen has very graciously offered to foot the bill, which is very kind of her." It's also a good p.r. move. In recent weeks Britain's Parliament has been engulfed in scandal after a national newspaper revealed that scores of parliamentarians used taxpayer money to cover personal expenses including a $48,000 gardening bill that included maintenance of a floating "duck island." (See the top 10 most outrageous U.K. expense claims.)
In any event, the Prince has already proven himself a bit of a recessionista. While his father Prince Charles reportedly chartered a private jet to the tune of $480,000 for his 2005 trip to America, Harry has booked commercial flights for this journey. According to Lowther-Pinkerton, "It's just Harry's way."