He's here! On Thursday, May 9 -- after much anticipation, and amid a frenzied outpouring of affection from American royal-watchers -- Prince Harry arrived stateside to begin his weeklong tour of the U.S. Upon landing at Dulles International Airport, near Washington, D.C., on a commercial flight from London, the 28-year-old third-in-line heir to the British throne kicked off his trip with a visit to Capitol Hill.
Accompanied by former Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain, Harry took a special tour of a photography exhibit at the Russell Senate Office Building. 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.
Dapper as ever in a navy blue suit, white dress shirt, and red tie, Prince William's younger brother spent more than 35 minutes speaking with McCain and the HALO Trust's Guy Willoughby about unexploded ordinances as a crowd of female fans gathered on the outskirts of the exhibit. Many were spotted snapping photos of the eligible bachelor on their phones, and one boasted that she had worn her "best jewelry" in his honor.
"You could hear hearts breaking all over the room when he left," 20-year-old intern Happy Carlock of Texas said. "He is so cute, better than I expected."
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 Us.
The land mine exhibit was just the first of many stops for the Prince. On Thursday evening, he's scheduled to attend a dinner and reception at the British Embassy in Washington. Then, on Friday, he'll visit Arlington National Cemetery and Walter Reed Military Medical Center to honor soldiers killed and injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The seven-day trip will also take Harry to Colorado Springs, Colo., where he'll attend the 2013 Warrior Games, and to New Jersey and New York, where he'll see towns ravaged by Superstorm Sandy and promote British tourism. Then, before returning to the U.K., he'll participate in a polo tournament in Greenwich, Conn.
A spokesman for Prince Harry tells Us 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.