KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — It wasn’t much of a race, but then it really couldn’t have been as the world’s fastest man and Britain’s Prince Harry met up on a track Tuesday in the Jamaican capital.
The prince got off to a false start and was about 50 meters down the track as Usain Bolt bent over with laughter. The Olympic medalist then jogged up to Harry, making one of his signature skyward points for a crowd of onlookers at the University of the West Indies in the Jamaican capital.
Later, the two exchanged pleasantries and talked about running for an audience made up mostly of university students, including many athletes. The prince noted Jamaica’s international reputation as a track and field powerhouse and said it was impressive for a small nation of nearly 3 million.
“Don’t go running off to America, because you’ve got talent your country needs,” he told the crowd.
Harry is touring the Caribbean as part of a Diamond Jubilee tour in honor of Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates 60 years on the throne. The 27-year-old prince, who made earlier stops in the Bahamas and Belize, arrived by private jet and received a 21-gun salute from members of the Jamaica Defense Force.
Harry also met with the new prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller, who repeated her position that Jamaica should sever ties with the British monarchy. Jamaica has been independent from Britain since 1962 but still recognizes the queen of England as the titular head of state.
“This is just another phase in our political history,” she told reporters after the meeting, without offering a deadline for a possible change.
Simpson Miller said Jamaica would continue to have close ties with Britain and that she harbored no bad feelings toward the queen.
“She is so warm,” Simpson Miller said. “We’re all in love with her.”
Harry arrived for their lunch in a black Range Rover under heavy security. The two embraced and warmly chatted on the steps of a 19th-century Georgian-style mansion in Kingston while about two dozen reporters snapped photos and shot video.
The guests were offered a citrus salad with mango dressing, jerked pork, curried coconut shrimp and Jamaica’s Blue Mountain coffee.
In an interview Thursday with The Associated Press, Simpson Miller said political change is necessary to eliminate the vestiges of colonialism.
“I think the fact that August coming will be 50 years since we have gained our independence, that it’s time for us to sever the ties,” she had said.
At the track stadium, though, there was nothing but enthusiasm for the prince. University students waved enthusiastically and cheered for him, calling for him to come out of his motorcade. “It’s the first time I have ever been this close to royalty,” 23-year-old medical student Shikera Fearon said as the prince pulled away.