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Friday 19 September 2014

Harry the real deal at ale festival

Published 15/08/2014 | 14:45

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Beer drinkers dressed as priests enjoy the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia London, where Prince Harry made an unofficial visit
A visitor buys a pint on silly hat day at the Great British Beer Festival at London's Olympia

Prince Harry joined Druids and drag artists as thousands of thirsty customers donned their best headgear for the 2014 Great British Beer Festival.

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The 29-year-old made the short journey from Kensington to the Olympia venue in west London last night, where the day's hat theme allowed Harry to attend incognito.

A baseball cap pulled down low meant the Prince could mill around virtually unnoticed as he and a handful of friends sampled some of the nearly 1,000 different beers, ciders and perries available.

The group also took part in traditional pub games, including Shut The Box.

Stall holder John Craye said it was only after the group had visited the games that he realised he had served royalty.

He said: "I was quite tempted to say to this gentleman that he looked quite a lot like Prince Harry, but I thought quite a lot of people tell him that.

"I was somewhat surprised to learn after that it was indeed him."

Mr Craye said the group did not have the greatest skill when playing the dice game, and that Harry seemed to be offering advice on how to win - where prizes and gifts included a jumper emblazoned with an image of the Prince's grandmother, the Queen.

He added: "Prince Harry was here to have a good time like the other 20,000 visitors to the festival so far this week.

"He just wanted to be treated like a normal person."

It is believed the Prince spent around two hours at the festival.

Fellow stall holder Les White said that although Harry did not have a glass in his hand during his visit to the stall, he believed the Prince had already sampled some of the beers.

Mr White said: "I looked over and I thought 'Wow - he really looks like Prince Harry'. At first I thought he was a lookalike.

"He and his friends were definitely enjoying themselves."

Organiser Ian Hill said: "He certainly seemed to be having a good time with his friends, enjoying the real ales on offer and even trying his hand at some traditional pub games.

"We would happily invite him to visit the festival again in the future."

The festival runs until tomorrow.

Press Association

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