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Remarks by Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, Principal Private Secretary to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, about Prince Harry's upcoming tour to the United States

Published on 25th March 2013

Thank you all for coming this morning. You will see from the Operational Note and Press Release on each of your seats that Prince Harry will be visiting the United States of America between 9th and 15th May. This is a visit which will have a number of distinct areas of focus. First of all, Prince Harry wants to highlight once again the extraordinary commitment and sacrifice of our injured servicemen and women – our 'wounded warriors'. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to any of you that helping to rehabilitate wounded sailors, soldiers, airmen and Royal Marines who have given so much to us and to our Country lies at the very heart of what both Princes wish to do. Although a Prince, Harry is also an operational soldier – indeed a soldier's soldier. Therefore, throughout this briefing a recurring theme is to help recognise and bring the spotlight onto the work being done to help these outstanding young men and women. The visit is also about supporting charities with which Prince Harry is closely involved. These focus on global humanitarian landmine clearance, promoting two of The Royal Foundation’s core aims - support to military veterans and empowering children and young people through sport – and supporting the work of The Prince’s African charity for orphans and vulnerable children, Sentebale. As a senior Member of The Royal Family, Prince Harry will also directly support the interests of the Country in the United States, as part of that vital role The Royal Family plays in representing Great Britain and Northern Ireland overseas. Though Prince Harry will be fulfilling this duty with his inimitable style in all he does, there are specific moments when this will be more formally acknowledged with receptions hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Washington and Denver, as well as at an event in Manhattan aimed at promoting UK business interests through the GREAT Campaign. He will also visit a community very badly affected by Hurricane Sandy last year – and now well on its way to recovery. The tour begins on the afternoon of Thursday 9th May in Washington DC. The Prince arrives on a commercial flight from the UK and goes straight to Capitol Hill, where he tours an exhibition staged by the charity, the HALO Trust. HALO needs no introduction to most of you, I'm sure. It is a pioneering organisation committed to mine-clearance worldwide. It is the largest Humanitarian mine-clearance charity in the world, and it is something of which we in this country should be extremely proud. Prince Harry has a longstanding connection with HALO. You may recall that he spent some time with one of its field teams in Tete Province in Mozambique in 2010. His experiences there – witnessing for himself the devastating, open-ended impact landmines have on individuals, families and communities – led him to announce this month his patronage of The Halo Trust’s 25th Anniversary Appeal. The Prince will be escorted around the exhibition by Guy Willoughby from the HALO Trust, and Senator John McCain’s wife, Cindy, who serves on the US board of the charity. From there, Prince Harry will go to the Residence of the British Ambassador, Sir Peter Westmacott. We are hugely grateful to him and his staff for offering to host a Reception and Dinner that night. This will be an opportunity for The Prince to meet more than 170 guests, drawn from a wide spectrum of Washington life. At the dinner afterwards - hosted in honour of Halo’s 25th Anniversary - Prince Harry will make a short speech on the subject of HALO and some of the wider, generic, issues confronting those involved in humanitarian mine clearance today. We will, of course, ensure that you are able to capture those words. On Friday 10th May we begin the day at Arlington National Cemetery, perhaps the most hallowed ground in the United States. Prince Harry will first pay his respects at the graves of those lost in recent conflicts, predominantly in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Prince will then lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a sepulchre that honours and commemorates every US Serviceman and woman to have given their lives in every conflict in which the United States of America has been involved. For those of you who have not been there, I can only say that it is in an extraordinarily peaceful and beautiful place, overlooking the city of Washington. At Arlington National Cemetery, Prince Harry will wear ceremonial uniform. From Arlington, the Prince will travel to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Walter Reed is world-renowned for its pioneering work in prosthetics and the rehabilitation of Service personnel. Prince Harry is very familiar with the work of the UK's nearest equivalent to Walter Reed, Headley Court, and this will be an opportunity to witness a similarly extraordinary operation in Washington. He will be shown recent advances in prosthetics, before being given a demonstration of the Computer Assisted Rehab Environment, or CAREN, as it is known. This is a brilliant piece of technology, a little like a flight simulator - with the injured Serviceman as pilot. It places them in all-round sensory environments, which react to their own actions, helping them gradually to take on the challenges faced by the wounded in returning to a semblance of normal, everyday living. However, The Prince wants to spend the majority of his time at Walter Reed meeting Servicemen and women using the Center's gymnasium – people for whom the route back to normal life is a long, difficult process of rehabilitation. Friday afternoon sees us leave Washington DC for Denver in Colorado. This is quite a long flight, but with the two-hour time difference in our favour The Prince has the opportunity to attend a reception on the outskirts of the city, hosted by Her Majesty's Consul-General to Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming, Beverley Simpson. 120 guests will be drawn from the local and expatriate communities, from the worlds of business, media, politics, academia and sport, including, we hope, some of Colorado’s Olympic Gold medalists from London 2012. The reception marks the first of two days of engagements in Colorado. Having spent the night near Colorado Springs – some 90 miles from Denver – on Saturday 11th May Prince Harry spends all day at the 2013 Warrior Games. These are the equivalent of the Paralympics for injured and wounded Servicemen and women. They are being held for the fourth consecutive year at the Headquarters and National Training Center of the US Olympic Team, Colorado Springs. Teams from US Army, the United States Marine Corps, the US Navy and Coastguard, the Air Force and Special Operations Command will all be taking part. For the first time in a fully competitive way so too will be a team from the British Armed Forces. We will be fielding a contingent of around 35 individuals, who will compete in seven sports: archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track & field and wheelchair basketball. Prince Harry’s first engagement on this opening day will be an informal meeting with members of the British team. The Prince will then attend a Reception and Brunch, where there will be an opportunity for him to meet other US participants and members of the US Olympic Committee. The main event of the day will be the Opening Ceremony. Just like at the Olympics, there will be a parade of athletes - 200 of them, including our own. Prince Harry will watch the show and then, once the ceremony is complete, go to the sitting volleyball for an hour or so. This concludes the public events of the day. The Prince will spend that evening privately with several of the UK team and - it's hoped - with a number of those trekking to the South Pole later this year in the latest Walking with The Wounded challenge. To Sunday 12th May, and Prince Harry will go to the US Air Force Academy, just outside Colorado Springs, where he'll watch the cycling. Monday 13th May will be a travel day. Just a footnote: the two hours you gained travelling west, you now lose travelling east - so total travel time, including road transport at either end, is around 9 hours. Therefore, we start again in earnest on the morning of Tuesday 14th May with a visit to New Jersey, to a community hard hit by Hurricane Sandy last year. Sandy has gone on record as the most destructive of the 2012 Hurricane Season. It caused more than 71 billion dollars of damage in the United States alone. It killed nearly 300 people in its course, and in the US affected 24 states, from Florida to Maine, hitting New York and New Jersey particularly hard. The Prince will see for himself some of the extraordinary work that has gone on since October 2012 to rebuild communities affected. He will also meet members of the emergency services who reacted so heroically on the night the storm struck. From New Jersey, Prince Harry returns to Manhattan for an event to support the British Government’s GREAT campaign, which The Prince promoted when he was in Rio last year. This event will see a gathering of some British export successes, as well as US companies who have invested in the United Kingdom. It's particularly resonant that this event should be in New York as it was here that the GREAT campaign was launched by the Prime Minister in 2011. There will be demonstrations of products inside the venue and trundling up outside will be the GREAT campaign's double-decker London bus. Prince Harry then attends a baseball training session with several dozen young players from a deprived background. This is a Royal Foundation partnership event, based around the successful Coach Core initiative which The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry launched in London on the eve of the Olympics last year. It will take place in an economically- and socially-challenged part of the city, where sport is being used to help redirect the energies and harness the potential of thousands of young people. The activities of our New York partner are directly complementary to the work being carried out by the Royal Foundation –hopefully, proving immensely useful to both parties going forward. Finally on Tuesday, The Prince will attend a reception and dinner in Manhattan benefitting the American Friends of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. On Wednesday, 15th May, we head north to Greenwich, Connecticut for the fourth Sentebale Polo Cup. As with its three predecessors, the strategic aim is to raise money for and awareness of the plight of the children of Lesotho. Prince Harry will make a speech at lunchtime, articulating the activities of the charity and outline its strategic intent to create a permanent Mahmato Camp outside Maseru for children infected with HIV/Aids. In the afternoon, he will play for the Sentebale team, before flying back to the UK that evening. As usual, before I end, I want to say a brief word about transport, costs and the tour party. The Prince and his party will take commercial flights to and from the United Kingdom and within the United States. Because this visit balances charitable and 'official' engagements, the funding for the visit will reflect this and be met in part by the charities and their sponsors and in part from the Sovereign Grant. The tour party will consist of Prince Harry, Sir David Manning; the Press Secretary, Ed Perkins, the Assistant Press Secretary, Nick Loughran, the tour manager, Naomi Butson, and me. We have also been wonderfully supported by the Ambassador and his staff in Washington. Thank you again for coming in this morning.