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Leaving Las Vegas: Prince Harry puts scandal behind him on U.S. tour

Leaving Las Vegas: Prince Harry puts scandal behind him on U.S. tour
Lawrence Jackson/The White House
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Monday, May 13, 2013 - 8:52am

ON TOUR WITH PRINCE HARRY (CNN) -- Last time Prince Harry visited these shores, he departed under a cloud. By contrast, his current visit is going swimmingly.

The royal really started enjoying his US tour over the weekend. He was at the Warrior Games which combines two of his great passions: sport and the support of war veterans.

Harry threw himself in to the event, having a go at sitting volleyball, cheering on the British cycling team and trying out American football -- and he announced an ambitious plan to create an international version of the games in the UK.

He will have other chances to show off his sporting prowess this week: In New York, the prince is going to try his hand at baseball and has been getting advice on how to pitch in preparation for doing so in front of the world's media.

On Thursday, he captains a polo team in one of the richest neighborhoods on the planet: Greenwich, Connecticut. There's been a scramble for access from young women desperate to meet the man who has the power to grant them something money just can't buy -- a title.

But there is also serious work to be done. He's linking up with UK Prime Minister David Cameron at an event promoting British trade and is visiting New Jersey to see an area devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The Prince wanted to go to the worst hit neighborhood possible so he could get the best sense of the damage.

He'll be accompanied by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who is grateful to Prince Harry for putting Sandy back on the news agenda, according to a person close to the Prince on this tour.

I spoke to Prince Harry and it's clear he's focused on promoting issues on this tour not himself. He's aware that getting involved in events and showing his character makes for good coverage. But this is a Prince who has a deep-seated suspicion of the media.

On Sunday he told the gathered press pack: "It's not always great having you around," but then thanked us for raising the profile of the event. There may have been a wry smile when he accidently threw a football into the middle of the press pen during his practice.

Harry is trying to strike the right balance between capitalizing on the interest in him, without giving too much of himself away.

He managed it in spectacular fashion during his tour of the Caribbean last year but then let himself down (his own words) in Las Vegas when naked pictures of him emerged.

But the Prince is managing to put Vegas behind him. People on the tour are talking about it less. He's rebuilding his image as a professional royal and serving soldier.

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