Philip Patrick Philip Patrick

Prince Harry could learn from the Japanese royals

(Photo: Getty)

Plain old Harry Windsor, as he is now, is in Japan for the International Sports Promotion Summit and a few low-key engagements before moving on to Singapore for a polo tournament fundraising for AIDS. The relaxed and happy looking former prince was welcomed with enthusiasm and characteristic courtesy by well-wishers as he arrived alone, wearing an Archewell branded cap, at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. Winningly, Harry flew commercial and didn’t use the VIP pathway to navigate the airport. ‘It’s good to see you again’ he said to reporters and added he’d be ‘happy to live here if you’d have me’ and actually looked as though he meant it.

This is Harry’s first overseas outing as an ex-royal. But whatever his official designation, Harry Windsor is very much still seen as a royal in Japan. Princess Diana was idolised here ever since making an enormous impression when she visited with Prince Charles in 1986 and the Japanese press refer to prince William as ‘Diana’s first born’. Harry remains big-ish in Japan and popular: Finding Freedom is one of the few royal books to get a full Japanese release.

Not that there is ever a ‘Prince’ Harry event without any hint of controversy. The sports summit he is attending seems to be being funded by the slightly mysterious  Haruhisa Handa, a new age guru and head of the Shinto based religion World Mate, which has been embroiled in various scandals over the years. Handa who has written over 200 self-help books preaching happiness through spirituality and material prosperity and once issued a picture of himself at the centre of the Last Supper, shared a stage with Harry for the press conference. It is not clear how close the two are or should be.

Whatever Harry got up to here was likely to be of interest though, as in contrast, the Japanese royal family is unremittingly dull.

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