Last visit of Prince Harry to the United States, in August 2012, did not end well, after photographs of him romping naked around a Las Vegas hotel suite were published worldwide – just weeks before he began his tour of duty in Afghanistan.
“I probably let myself down, I let my family down, I let other people down,” he said in an interview a few weeks later.
“It was probably a classic example of me probably being too much army, and not enough prince.”
Harry argued at the time that it happened in a private area and that he should have been able to expect a certain amount of privacy.
Now Prince Harry is coming back to America for a seven-day, six-city tour – and it’s expected to be very different from his last U.S. visit.
A royal source has described his visit, which also includes a visit to a community devastated by Hurricane Sandy, as “gentle diplomacy.”
The source also shared that one core element of the tour will be the weekend Warrior Games in Colorado, which are best described as the Paralympics for injured and wounded war veterans.
The 28-year-old royal will start his trip in Washington on Thursday, where he’s scheduled to tour an exhibit on clearing landmines sponsored by a charity that was a favorite of late mother, Princess Diana, and attend a reception at the home of the British ambassador.
Prince Harry kicked off his return to the U.S. a changed man, attending the photo exhibit at the Russell Senate Office Building, which examines the presence and toll of unexploded land mines and ordnances, writes the NY Daily News.
The exhibit, organized by British nonprofit HALO Trust, focuses on the presence of and safety concerns around land mines, an issue previously adopted by his late mother, Princess Diana of Wales.
As the Prince entered the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building near the Capitol, he was greeted by a roar and shouts of “Harry!” from a crowd of about 500 people, nearly all of them women.
They crowded a roped-off hallway and stairway with a view of the exhibit, hoisting their cellphones and tablets to get a picture. Harry didn’t visibly react except to give a polite wave, says the Huff Post.
Senator McCain later told reporters that the Prince “was kind of embarrassed” by the screaming.
“I’m sure it’s not the first time he has had that experience, but in all the years I’ve been coming here, I’ve never seen such an unbalanced gender gap,” the politician quipped, adding that he and Harry had chatted about their time in the service.
“He knew I had been shot down and I told him he was probably a much better pilot than me because he hadn’t been shot down,” McCain told the Us magazine.
The British prince was accompanied by Arizona Republican John McCain, whose wife, Cindy McCain, sits on the HALO Trust board.
A buttoned-down Prince Harry also joined Michelle Obama in honoring military families.
On Friday, the prince visits Arlington National Cemetery and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center before he will spend the weekend in Colorado, where he’ll attend a diplomatic reception in Denver and head to Colorado Springs for the Warrior Games, an event for wounded service members and veterans.
Harry will also visit parts of New Jersey afflicted by Superstorm Sandy and stop for events in New York City before capping his visit by playing in the Sentebale Polo Cup match in Greenwich, Conn., on Wednesday.
He’ll also stop in New York City, where he’ll attend an event to promote the British government’s GREAT campaign and visit a community baseball program involved in a partnership with the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, informs ET News.
A spokesman for Prince Harry says that he is “fired up” for the rest of the U.S. tour.
“He’s very much been looking forward to this visit,” the rep says.