Prince Harry touched the heart of an outstanding Bahamian blind student who described the royal as “amazing” this week.
The Prince left a lasting impression on Anna Albury, 2011 Primary School Student of the Year, who gave a rally-rousing speech at a national youth event in the Bahamas. The schoolgirl was befriended by Prince Harry who chatted and joked with her as they sat together in Bahamas’ national stadium surrounded by thousands of schoolchildren.
In front of the packed stands seating 11,000 students, she described the visiting royal as “our Prince Harry” and said having him in their Caribbean homeland allowed the nation to “showcase our unique, vibrant culture through expressions of music, dance and drama”.
Anna, 12, used a Braille computer which raises and lowers dots on a keyboard to form letters, to read her speech. She told the youngsters: “Youth of Bahamas, although I’m blind I do not accept this as a disadvantage.”
Anna, who lives on the island of Abaco, was named student of the year for her academic achievements in the face of her disability. The youngster added: “My fellow youth, I encourage you to be committed to pursuing your dreams even though you may face struggles or difficulties.”
After His Royal Highness left she said: "Oh my gosh, it was amazing to meet Prince Harry. I was so excited and I just loved it and can’t wait to tell my family about it. He was very friendly and he was asking me about my speech, how old I was and where I was from. He asked me if I had been blind since birth.
“After my speech he congratulated me and said: Well done. All of the children I sit with at school were like: Oh my gosh, if it was us. They were so excited I was meeting him.”
In his short speech, Prince Harry told the youngsters: “I know Her Majesty would wish me to extend her personal encouragement to you all in your endeavours, whether they be in education, civic and community activities or in the sporting arena. In being here, taking part in the national youth rally, each and every one of you is promoting admirable morale, social and patriotic values.”
Prince Harry was clearly impressed with what he saw, telling them: “Basically you’re doing your country proud, and don’t you look smart. The Queen would be delighted by this and, on her behalf, I congratulate you all.”
When The Prince first arrived he received a rock star welcome as he walked into the stadium with the students screaming and cheering. Dressed in a cream linen suit, open-necked shirt and sunglasses, he then watched hundreds of children march past in groups representing their schools, clubs and associations before the speeches began.
Prince Harry is touring the Caribbean in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Before leaving the Bahamas The Prince honored fallen servicemen from the Royal Bahamian Defence Force by laying a wreath in their memory at a military base.
His Royal Highness took the salute of a march past and said in a speech: “In the past, Bahamians have fought and, tragically, some have laid down their lives for their country and the cause of freedom. Their steadfastness and courage back then are reflected in your obvious professionalism on parade today. You are a credit to your nation.”
Later The Prince will travel to Jamaica, the last stop in his Diamond Jubilee tour before heading to Brazil for a visit on behalf of the British Government.