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Prince Harry appears fully dressed for his first public engagement since Vegas photos scandal.

david kingstrom By david kingstrom | September 05, 2012 | United Kingdom

Yesterday’s event, the WellChild Awards in London, was the first time the prince had been seen in public since he returned from Las Vegas. He has been patron of the charity, which supports critically ill children, since 2007. Each year it presents awards to those it considers the bravest in Britain.

In his speech last night, the prince said: "All of you … are, quite frankly, too remarkable for me to adequately describe with mere words. But never one to be shy in coming forward, I’ll give it a go".

Sources said the prince was concerned about appearing in public after the media onslaught of the past few weeks. A source 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".

Alex played ball and just tickled the prince Harry with his toy penguin, Hookie, as his mother, Debbie watched proudly.

Harry with 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 Harry, laughing after the first lick.  When Hope, who was born prematurely 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".  She said Hope had planned to give the Prince what she called a cow lick.

Prince Harry showed very gentle  with all the children, bending down to their level and embracing them all.

The Royal Family was left reeling last month after photographs of the prince frolicking with an unnamed blonde in his Las Vegas hotel. 

St James's Palace have appealed to British newspapers not to run the pictures, arguing that Harry has a reasonable expectation of privacy since he was on a private holiday.

  • Tags:   Prince Harry fully dressed Las Vegas photos scandal WellChild_Awards London first_time public patron charity 2007 awards bravest Britain prince to_focus children Alex penguin Hookie mother Debbie proudly five-year-old Hope Hillis two sloppy_licks face Hope prematurely 50 operations host health problems brain licked hugged Hope's_mother Sarah Hillis 32 Lisburn Northern Ireland great compliment cow_lick Royal_Family photographs hotel St._James's_Palace British newspapers pictures Harry reasonable expectation privacy private holiday
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