Prince Harry made a visit to Ground Zero and questioned officials about the WTC memorial completion
Prince Harry proved to be Prince Charming to New Yorkers as British Royal made his first official visit to the Big Apple.
A somber Prince Harry, in his first official trip to New York City, bowed his head in prayer and placed a wreath of peonies and roses as well as a handwritten note at Ground Zero on Friday afternoon. The simple note said: “In respectful memory of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, and in admiration of the courage shown by the people of this great city on that day,” and it was signed, “Harry.” The dashing 24-year-old son of Princess Diana and Prince Charles bowed his head for several minutes during his visit to the WTC site and after a tour of Ground Zero he asked the million dollar question, “Big question – when is this supposed to be finished?”
While at Ground Zero, Prince Harry met with relatives of four 9/11 victims. “It was just very nice to see all the people who lost their loved ones here, just a small group of them,” the prince said later. Among them was Chip Callori, whose brother, Joseph Amatuccio, was killed on Sept. 11, 2001. “It’s a very kind gesture on his part, for him to realize that this is a sad but important part of our history,” she said. “He was really concerned; he feels the pain of the victims,” said Monica Iken, 39, whose husband, Michael, died on 9/11, and who spoke to Harry at Ground Zero. “He wanted to hear my story,” she said. “It was unbelievable he took the time to visit and make this his first stop. He said this is what he wanted to do; he wanted to visit the memorial.”
At the firehouse across the street that houses Engine 10 and Ladder 10, which lost five members on Sept. 11, the prince shook hands with firefighters and was given FDNY T-shirts as gifts. The red-headed prince also joked with red-headed firefighter Kyle Rowe that he was glad to meet a “fellow ginger.” Back on the street, hundreds of people behind police barricades strained for a glimpse of smiling, red-haired Harry. His fun-loving, outgoing nature erupted as he strolled over to shake hands and chat with on-lookers. As he left the site, he added, “It’s just fantastic to see what’s going on and hopefully everyone will be really happy with the result, I’m sure they will be.”
After his stop at the World Trade Center site, the prince visited a downtown park memorializing Britain’s 67 victims killed on Sept. 11 and formally named the British Memorial Garden in Hanover Square in their honor. On its wrought-iron fence, 67 finials are to be painted gold in honor of the British victims. Later in the afternoon, Harry visited Manhattan’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center, touring its prosthetics facilities and a clinic that treats veterans of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Harry toured the facilities and met with wounded Iraq veteran Paul Yarbrough, who demonstrated a new prosthetic hand.
Joining the prince in New York was be a 21-year-old British soldier who lost both legs when he stepped on an anti-tank mine in Afghanistan last year, while Harry was commanding troops nearby. His New York fun is to come on Saturday, when the prince is to participate in the Veuve Clicquot Manhattan Polo Classic on Governors Island in New York Harbor, facing off against Argentinian polo player and hottie Nacho Figueras.
The youngest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana is third in line to the British throne, after his father and older brother, William. Dubbed “the party prince,” Harry is a much-watched member of the royal family, regularly making newspaper headlines with his romantic escapades and brushes with scandal. While in New York City, his security detail kept Harry on a tight leash essentially banning him from going out on the town since he is in New York for just 36 hours.