Prince Harry works the room at Colorado reception
SEDALIA, Colo. (AP) — Britain’s Prince Harry charmed dozens of dignitaries, British expatriates, students and military officers at a cocktail party welcoming him to Colorado Friday night and then joined the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to Olympian Missy Franklin, who was celebrating her 18th birthday.
Harry went table-to-table for about an hour at the party at the Sanctuary Golf Club south of Denver. He asked Franklin, attending with her parents, for a rundown of her medals while he took some ribbing about the shrieking female fans who greeted his arrival in Washington from U.S. Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman.
At one table on the patio looking out over the rolling hills toward Pike’s Peak, Harry said he was glad to see a group of Americans and Britons having Pimm’s Cups, summery English drinks, together.
Deborah Read Fowler, a Briton living in Colorado, said the prince had obviously done his research about the company they all worked for.
“And he goes to Afghanistan. How can you not respect that?” she said.
His effect on the ladies was on display in a more muted way here.
Several men brought their 20-something daughters to the reception. And when Harry went over to meet members of the band, two members acknowledged they were too overwhelmed to really carry on a conversation.
University of Denver students Jenna Bainbridge of Castle Rock and Samantha Barrasso of Aurora said the prince jokingly asked them what performers they were better than.
“He’s very charismatic. He obviously doesn’t hide his personality. And he’s handsome, so that doesn’t hurt,” Bainbridge said.
Harry is in Colorado to attend the Warrior Games this weekend in Colorado Springs. More than 200 wounded servicemen and women from the U.S. and Britain will participate.
The visit is part of a weeklong visit to the United States that will also include trips to parts of New Jersey damaged by Superstorm Sandy. He’ll end his trip by playing in the Sentebale Polo Cup match in Greenwich, Conn.
Harry recently spent 20 weeks in Afghanistan as co-pilot gunner on an Apache attack helicopter and has been a big supporter of charities to help wounded service members.
On Saturday he’ll attend the opening ceremonies for the Warrior Games at the Olympic Training Center. That event is closed to the public but spectators are welcome to attend the event competitions, which are free, starting Sunday. Harry is scheduled to attend Sunday’s public cycling event at the Air Force Academy.
He plans another outing with wounded military personnel later this year when he participates in the South Pole Allied Challenge. Teams from Britain, Australia, Britain, Canada and the United States will race 208 miles to the pole.