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Mar 5, 2012

On official Visit to Belize: Prince Harry at Xunantunich

On Saturday morning, Prince Harry, the third in line to the British throne, headed to the Adjacency Zone near the Belize/Guatemala border. After an explanation on the work of the OAS, he was treated to a cultural presentation by both Belizean and Guatemalan primary school students. The Prince’s next stop was Xunantunich. Here’s News Five’s Isani Cayetano’s report.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

From the summit of El Castillo, one of several temples at Xunantunich, Prince Harry consumes the splendor of verdant plant life surrounding the archaeological site.  The view from the crown of the Stone Woman which stands at a hundred and thirty feet is a singular experience rich with the ambience of nature.  Just below the ridge are the rapids of the Mopan River.  The panorama is the climax of a symbolic ascent.

Prince Henry of Wales

Prince Henry

“Being able to see the scenery that this place has to offer and obviously the location here is absolutely fantastic.  So yeah it’s outdone its expectations as far as I’m concerned. The views from up there is incredible and the fact that they’ve managed to sort of keep, you know, as much of the sort of natural beauty around this local area as much as they can is fantastic. It’s amazing!”

At the base of the ancient structure Prince Harry is greeted by the sound of soft percussion.  The low, tonal range of the xylophone fills the courtyard as a troupe of dancers, arrayed in a wealth of colors, perform the ceremonial Deer Dance around him.  Marimba music, the burning of the copal and the warmth of the midday sun complement a truly cultural observation.

Prince Henry of Wales

“Xunantunich is fantastic, I mean it’s slightly bizarre for what we’re sitting here doing now to think of what was happening all those hundreds of years ago.  I’m right here.  It probably wasn’t anything like this but the music and sort of the fun and laughs was probably exactly the same.”

In the second square he is welcomed by yet another group of musicians.  The Succotz Festival Drum Corps, a celebrated marching band with its origin in the area, quickly runs through its set as the prince takes in the spectacle.

A few moments later he is escorted to a third temple where he makes his way up a flight of stone stairs.  By now a hand-woven quxtal conferred to him during his visit here is slung across his shoulder.  He briefly continues his meet and greet before descending into a smaller plaza.  There he chitchats with several Belizean models; among them a young lady dressed in a flowing, blue gown entirely of tarpaulin.  They’re each garbed in couture made of recyclable material.

He then proceeds to the food court before having lunch with the children.

And just what is his impression of the Belizean experience?

Prince Henry of Wales

“There’s three hundred thousand people in Belize.  I think driving from the airport back and forth along the specific routes I think we’ve probably seen, well I feel as though we’ve seen three quarters of the population but the people are fantastic.  The welcome that we had since we got here yesterday and to today it feels like I’ve been here for a week.  The sun is out, I’m sweating, it’s very, very warm but, you know, the music, the culture, the people, everything is fantastic and I hope to come back again very, very soon.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Before departing for the Bahamas on the second leg of his tour, Prince Harry stopped in at Price Barracks where he was met by the B.D.F.’s top brass as well as remaining BATSUB personnel. The visit has been widely reported by the international media and the Punta dance was one of the highlights.

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