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Royal officials in a flap as Harry's car suffers flag malfunction in Guyana

Officials were left in a flap when Prince Harry's royal standard flew off his official chauffeur-driven car and blew down the road soon after he arrived in Guyana.

The mishap came minutes after his plane touched down in the capital Georgetown and his large motorcade was driving away from the airport.

Cars braked sharply when the royal flag, brought over with the prince's entourage, came off a small mast attached to the side of a Land Rover Discovery carrying the royal.

An official ran full pelt after the item and when he picked it up sprinted back even faster to hand it to another official.

Royal standards are flown from buildings, cars and even planes to let the world know a member of the Royal Family is in residence or travelling.

Just before the flag dislodged itself from Harry's four-by-four he had asked for it to be stopped so he could receive a bunch of yellow blooms from a little girl at the perimeter fence.

Harry has already travelled to six Caribbean nations on behalf of the Queen and on Thursday the prince and Barbados-born global star Rihanna had HIV tests in the singer's home country to mark World Aids Day and raise awareness about the illness.

The prince was later taken to meet President David Granger, a retired senior army officer, who was joined by his prime minister Moses Nagamootoo and some members of the cabinet at the Ministry of the Presidency.

After posing for a picture with the statesman and the politicians Mr Granger joked "Its not quite Rihanna - but we tried", a quip which made everyone in the room laugh.

The Queen has visited Guyana twice, in 1966 shortly before independence and in 1994, with both visits part of a Caribbean tour.

When Harry sat down for informal talks with Guyana's president David Granger he joked about the timings of the Queen's previous trips to the country.

He told the Prince: "She came to Guyana twice, both times in February, I said what is it about English weather that brings you to Guyana in February. Now that you're here in December, I must ask you the same question - what is it about English weather that brings you to the Caribbean?"

Harry smiled and replied: "I think there's a lot of people back home are asking the same question, when we embarked on this two-week tour we had floods and winter hit very, very hard."

Mr Granger, who was elected to office last year pledging to end decades of racial divisions that have blighted Guyanese politics, appeared at ease with the Prince, who warmed to the informal nature of the meeting.

Later Harry laid a wreath at the national independence monument, an arch spanning a road built from Guyana's mineral resources, and presented to the country in the year of independence from British rule.

Mirroring the ceremony that greeted him at the airport, there was a guard of honour, and after acknowledging the servicemen Harry laid a wreath at the arch which has been recently renovated.

With a new government and president elected in May last year there has been a drive to return the capital Georgetown to its former status as the "Garden City", with rubbish cleared from street corners, overgrown alleyways cleared and drainage ditches dredged.

The final event saw the Prince visit Camp Ayanganna, the headquarters of the Guyana Defence Force, where he chatted to a small group of veterans, three of whom had served in the Second World War.

He asked the group, all members of the Guyana Veterans Legion, how often they met and the men, all in their 90s, told him they gathered every month.

Lloyd Defreitas, 92, who was a private in the 1st Battalion, Caribbean Regiment, saw action in Italy and Egypt.

The old soldier reflected on the strong bonds he built up with comrades on the battlefield: "I joined at the age of 18 and I'm glad I was in the Army, I saw the world.

"I remember all my friends that died, but the Army gives you love, my life was in the hands of my friends and their lives were in my hands."

Harry was made an honorary member of the legion before he left.


From Belfast Telegraph