Harry joins Bahamas naval exercise

Prince Harry talks to a local guide during a visit to a national monument in Belize

Prince Harry talks to a local guide during a visit to a national monument in Belize

First published in National News © by

Prince Harry will take to the waters around the Bahamas later to learn about the work of the country's military as he begins the next leg of his Diamond Jubilee tour.

The royal will join the crew of a Royal Bahamian Defence Force boat for a maritime security exercise that will last several hours.

The third-in-line to the throne is a newly qualified Apache helicopter pilot and the experience will allow him to spend time, mostly in private, with fellow servicemen, learning more about their work.

Harry flew to the country in his chartered jet after completing a tour of Belize in honour of the Queen's 60-year reign.

His day will begin like all royal foreign visits that cover a weekend with a visit to church. The royal will attend a thanksgiving service to mark his grandmother's Diamond Jubilee, joining the governor general Sir Arthur Foulkes and much of the Bahamian government at the place of worship.

Following the ecumenical service the prince will tour an open-air photographic exhibition at Nassau's central Rawson Square and deliver a speech. The display chronicles the life of the monarch, who is the Queen of the Bahamas, and her family's long links to the islands.

Before he left Belize, the mysteries of the country's ancient civilisation were revealed to him as he played the tourist and visited a national monument. He was taken to the long abandoned city of Xunantunich - home to the sophisticated Maya people.

Harry arrived at the popular tourist attraction by car, and as he emerged from a group of trees, before him was the impressive complex of stone pyramids, palaces and temples rising out of a jungle clearing. The prince was taken on a private guided tour of the site which was home to up to 10,000 people who lived in the surrounding countryside.

Archaeologists have been deciphering the history of the city and its inhabitants for decades and have focused on its central piece, the towering Castillo complex. It contained the palaces and private shrines of the rulers before it was abandoned between AD 950-1000.

Harry climbed the steep stone steps of the Castillo pausing occasionally to take in the view behind him and when he reached a midway point he disappeared as the steps took him around the side of the monument. He was spotted at the summit high above the jungle canopy and stayed there for around 20 minutes before taking a different path down to ground level.

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