Mask fits for Harry in Rio race
Prince Harry has been praised for his engaging personality "worth a thousand politicians" as he showed his mischievous side and ran a charity race wearing a Duke of Cambridge facemask.
A British-themed sports day on a sweltering Rio de Janeiro beachfront brought out the best in Harry, 27, who ran a Sport Relief Mile, played touch-rugby and tried his hand at volleyball.
The prince was promoting the UK as part of the Great campaign - a global initiative to attract visitors, business and students to the UK on the back of the Diamond Jubilee and London 2012.
A dramatic gun battle between Brazilian forces and suspected drug dealers in a Rio favela - Vila Cruzeiro - did not stop the royal visiting a neighbouring deprived district. Harry's tour of Complexo do Alemao was not affected by the violence around a mile away which also saw homemade bombs thrown at soldiers who responded with stun grenades.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who earlier joined Harry for the launch of the Great initiative in Brazil, at Rio's Sugarloaf mountain, praised the impact the prince had made in the South American country.
Speaking close to the scene of the prince's sporting endeavours on Rio's Flamengo beach, he said: "Well, Prince Harry is worth a thousand politicians. As you can see he has extraordinary celebrity pulling power. But also the way he's approached things here in Brazil, sums up what we're most proud about with the Royal Family."
Harry's sporting day began with him waving the Brazilian flag to start the fun run in the shadow of Sugarloaf mountain, then he quickly joined the 1,300 runners. The prince, 27, dressed in sunglasses, polo shirt, trainers and tracksuit bottoms, made quick work of the course, completing it in around six minutes. But as he raced towards the finish line Harry had become William, thanks to a face mask of his older brother.
It appears the joke was not pre-planned, the prince is thought to have been given the mask by another runner, one amongst hundreds of children and adults taking part in the event.
Harry's visit to the favela was shadowed by a huge security presence of camouflage-wearing soldiers and special troops who were out in force to insure the safety of the prince and the many media covering his visit.
Rio's poorer districts are known for their violence and as the prince arrived at Complexo do Alemao shooting broke out unexpectedly at Vila Cruzeiro.