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Prince Harry begins US visit with Michelle, McCain, and moms

Prince Harry's first day in the US included a visit with McCain to a charity supported by his late mother, Princess Diana, as well as events honoring military moms hosted by Michelle Obama.

By Henry C. JacksonAssociated Press / May 10, 2013

Sen. John McCain greets Prince Harry as he arrives on Capitol Hill, Washington, Thursday, May 9, 2013, to view an exhibition on land mines staged by the HALO Trust.

Susan Walsh / AP

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WASHINGTON

A buttoned-down Prince Harry joined Michelle Obama in honoring military families Thursday and toured an exhibition in Congress about land mines, opening a weeklong U.S. visit devoted to the wounded victims of war. Shrieking onlookers gave him the pop-star treatment, but he was all royal business.

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The British soldier-prince had one of America's most storied wounded warriors, the wisecracking Sen. John McCain, at his side as he viewed a display of land mine photos, maps, and mine-detection equipment, staged by a charity held dear by his late mother, Princess Diana.

As the prince entered the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building near the Capitol, he was greeted by a roar and shouts of "Harry!" from a crowd of about 500 people, nearly all of them women. They crowded a roped-off hallway and stairway with a view of the exhibit, hoisting their cellphones and tablets to get a picture. Harry didn't visibly react except to give a polite wave.

Senator McCain (R) of Arizona laughed as he told Harry, "I've never seen, in all the years I've been here, such an unbalanced gender crowd."

From there it was on to the White House for a previously unannounced visit with the first lady, Vice President Joe Biden's wife, Jill, and military mothers and children at an afternoon tea. Harry joined with the children in helping the kids make Mother's Day gifts from tulip and rose bouquets, vegetable chips, and edible dough jewelry gathered in the State Dining Room.

For the prince, the Washington settings were a world away from the Afghanistan war zone where he recently served for 20 weeks as a co-pilot gunner in an Apache attack helicopter. It was just as far removed from his hijinks in a Las Vegas hotel room last summer, when fuzzy photos got out of a naked Harry playing strip billiards.

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