King of the Closing Ceremony: Prince Harry is joined by Kate as he takes centre stage as the top Royal
By Paul Harris
Prince Harry was launched into a new leading role in the royal family last night when he took centre stage at the Olympic closing ceremony.
In his most important solo Royal engagement yet, the third in line to the throne was selected as the figurehead for the spectacular farewell to the Games, which the Queen opened two weeks ago.
The high-profile task of celebrating Britain’s glory at London 2012 fell to the 27-year-old prince, sitting alongside the Duchess of Cambridge, after a succession of prominent appearances in the crowd at many of the history-making events of the competition.
All smiles: Prince Harry shares a joke with his brother's wife, the Duchess of Cambridge as the pair enjoy the Closing Ceremony
Celebration: Prince Harry took centre stage at the Closing Ceremony of London 2012 tonight as the most senior Royal in attendance
Having fun: The young Royals look like they are having a great time at the closing ceremony, which is showcasing British musical talent
Thrilled: The young Royals show their appreciation for some of the performers at the ceremony
Respect: Prince Harry, the Duchess of Cambridge and Lord Coe stand for the national anthem at the Closing Ceremony
Last night in a stirring written message, Harry said the Games had been ‘extraordinary’, and added: ‘They will stay in the hearts and minds of people all over the world for a very long time to come.
‘I congratulate all the athletes who have competed. They have shown us that there are few boundaries to human endeavour.’
The spirit of the Olympics, he said, represented ‘a magnificent force for positive change’. The athletes, he said, had ‘captured the imagination of the world’.
His appearance on behalf of the Queen also cemented his image in the public eye as a prince of the people, a down-to-earth ambassador for what has been widely acclaimed one of the best things to happen to Britain for decades.
Senior royals including The Queen and Prince Charles have made a point of leaving the Games to the younger members of the family notably Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry who were official Team GB Ambassadors.
Charles attended the Queen’s official Buckingham Palace reception for heads of state as well as the opening ceremony followed by the men’s cycling and badminton on the opening Saturday before heading off to Scotland on holiday.
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