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Touring Prince Harry presented with Polly the parrot

Published 26/11/2016

Prince Harry drinks from a coconut while attending a St Lucian street festival in Soufriere
Prince Harry drinks from a coconut while attending a St Lucian street festival in Soufriere

Prince Harry found himself talking parrot fashion when he met a pretty Polly in the Caribbean - who refused to converse with the royal.

Harry tried greeting the St Vincent parrot - named after the West Indies island where it is found - repeatedly saying the word hello to the bird.

But the parrot, who can say hello and good morning, refused to reply and the prince burst out laughing when he heard she was called Polly.

The bird and 25 others are kept at the Nicholas Wildlife Aviary Complex which, since 1988, has maintained a vital captive breeding and conservation program to safeguard the numbers of the bird.

The aviary lay within a botanic gardens in the St Vincent capital Kingstown, 20 acres of lush, green trees, vegetation and shrubs first laid out in 1765 by General Robert Melville, governor of the British Caribbean islands.

The garden was originally designed as a plant breeding centre and "to provide medicinal plants for the military and improve the life and economy of the colony".

At a second cage, the parrots went wild when Harry approached and started squawking loudly, and screeching "hello" and he said: "They are so loud - it's ear-piercing."

When Harry stuck his finger into the cage one bird went to nip it and the royal pulled back in mock horror and chastised the parrot with the word "naughty".

Standing back to admire the birds, he asked park curator Gordon Shallow: "They are amazing. Do you ever let them out?"

When told they could get aggressive, he replied: "I can tell!"

The birds began squawking loudly as Harry walked away and he turned back, and put his finger to his lips as if to silence them.

Harry has coped remarkably well with the heat throughout his Caribbean tour, but the high temperatures appeared to get the better of him during the visit to the botanic gardens, and it was not long before the back of his shirt became covered in large sweat patches.

To mark the visit he was handed a shovel to plant a commemorative Baobab tree, and he joked about the task ahead of him as the sapling was in a large hole.

Wiping his brow, he asked: 'How long have you got?'

Luckily, he only had time to shift two spades of earth before he was whisked away to hear a group of schoolchildren singing.

The prince perked up when the music started, and he began nodding his head and swaying to the music. He even joined in with the chorus, featuring the words: "I love you St Vincent."

Afterwards he clapped and high-fived the children - telling them they should all be singers when they are older.

He continued to move and sway when he was taken to watch a children's steel band - and moved his hands as if conducting the music as they played the Bill Withers song Lean On Me.

Afterwards he asked them who was the best - but all of them were too shy to come forward. Instead he enquired whether anyone would take on a solo and a teenage girl eventually obliged.

Before Harry left he bowed to the young musicians in appreciation of their performance.

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From Belfast Telegraph