Prince Harry has made his first public appearance since the Las Vegas scandal broke.
Prince Harry, 27, attended the WellChild Awards in London this afternoon in his role as Patron of the charity, which supports terminally and critically ill children in the UK.
At the event he wagged his finger and light-heartedly admonished a little boy who wanted to ask him about his escapade in Las Vegas.
Alex Logan went on television earlier and vowed to tell the Prince: “I’m glad you’ve got your clothes on” but when the pair met at an awards ceremony in London last night, the third-in-line to the throne oversaw, perhaps belatedly, a royal cover-up.
Prince Harry headed off discussion of the touchy subject after catching a glimpse of 6-year-old Alex Logan from Lincoln on ITV’s lunchtime news.
“You keep looking up at your Mum. It looks like you’re dying to say something but you’re worried she’ll tell you off,” Prince Harry said, wagging his finger to admonish him.
“I heard you were on ITV earlier and you said something cheeky but let’s not talk about that here.”
Alex Logan, who was diagnosed with acute leukaemia when he was just three years old, played ball but compensated by wiping his favorite toy penguin, Hookie, all over the Prince’s head.
Sources said the prince was concerned about appearing in public after the media onslaught of the past few weeks but was more worried that the continuing rumpus over his “wild weekend” in Sin City would overshadow such a worthy occasion.
After that embarrassment, there was another encounter with a female that had him blushing last night – his face noticeably reddened when five-year-old Hope Hillis gave him two sloppy licks across his face.
“But we’ve only just met,” said Prince Harry, laughing after the first lick.
When Hope Hillis, who was born prematurely weighing just 1lb 9oz and has undergone more than 50 operations for a host of health problems including a bleed on the brain, licked and hugged him a second time, the Prince giggled and exclaimed: “Oh no.”
Hope’s mother Sarah Hillis, 32, from Lisburn, Northern Ireland, said: “That’s a great compliment from Hope. A lick on the side of the face – that’s better than a kiss.”
Sarah Hillis said Hope had planned to give the Prince what she called a cow lick.
The prince has been patron of the charity since 2007 and is a committed supporter of its work.
Each year the charity hands out awards to children and young people considered to be the bravest in Britain, as well as recognize the work of the doctors and nurses that care for them.
Prince Harry will meet all the winners privately at the hotel beforehand before joining them for tea and presenting the award to the Most Inspirational Child Age 3-6.
He will also deliver a speech at the end of the glittering ceremony.
Today a source close to the prince said: “Prince Harry is keen that what has happened does not overshadow what is going on today. He knows and understands there will be a lot of press interest because of recent events but just wants to focus on the children. That’s why he is there.”
The Royal Family was left reeling last month after photographs of the prince frolicking with an unnamed blonde in his Las Vegas hotel were published on the Internet and in one British newspaper.
St James’s Palace has appealed to British newspapers not to run the pictures, arguing that Prince Harry has a reasonable expectation of privacy since he was on a private holiday.
Only The Sun chose to run them arguing that the photographs – which were taken by fellow revellers with the knowledge of his police protection officers and then sold to a US celebrity gossip website – were an issue of press freedom and in the public interest.
Their decision has prompted 3,600 complaints to the Press Complaints Commission but the palace has not made a decision over whether to take legal action yet.