Prince Harry Visits Mantoloking, Seaside Heights With Christie [VIDEO]
Gov. Chris Christie welcomed Prince Harry to New Jersey by presenting him with a very special gift before heading to Mantoloking to view damage from Superstorm Sandy and then to Seaside Heights.
Prince Harry's visit was over just before noon as he heads to New York for an afternoon event promoting British trade. He's then due to throw a pitch to promote a community baseball program involving a new partnership with the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
Upon meeting the Prince in Sea Girt, Christie presented him with his very own royal blue fleece, the same as what Christie wore in the days after Superstorm Sandy.
They headed to Manatoloking and then Seaside Heights to survey damage from the storm and also see the JetStar roller coaster in the ocean before crews begin to dismantle it today.
"This used to be a house?"
The motorcade carrying the prince and Christie arrived about 10:15 a.m. in Mantoloking, where some residents were flying Union Jack flags and one handwritten sign read: "Prince Harry please come back when we're restored."
Christie showed Harry a spot where the Atlantic Ocean had cut Mantoloking in half, taking out a bridge and houses. "This used to be a house?" Harry asked at one barren spot.
Every one of the wealthy town's 521 homes was damaged or destroyed by Sandy last October. Scores remain as piles of rubble.The Prince shook hands with Mayor Steve Acropolis and Police Chief Rick Bergquist among several politicians and residents. He was also presented with a Mantoloking Police baseball cap.
The prince spent about a half hour in Mantoloking before the motorcade began a 10-mile trip south to Seaside Heights.
Playing Games In Seaside Heights
In Seaside Heights, crowds lined the rebuilt boardwalk trying to get a glimpse of the Prince and the Governor.
Townsquare Media’s Tom Mongelli describes a “Fourth Of July” atmosphere as crowds on the boardwalk anticipate Prince Harry’s visit. Many carried signs reading " "Prince Harry please come back when we're restored" and flying Union Jack flags.
Christie and the Prince posed for pictures and took time to play some games.They handed their stuffed animal prizes over to people in the crowd. Harry noted to reporters that the shore's comeback from Sandy showed a "sense of resiliency" and demonstrated the “fantastic American spirit" in that everyone gets together and makes things right, calling the governor "absolutely fantastic."
They were also presented ceremonial pens and autographed copies of a a book about the history of Ocean County by Ocean County representatives including Assemblyman Greg McGuckin (R-Ocean)
Also on hand was Christopher Angelo of Lavallette who climbed the JetStar roller coaster in January.
Before leaving the country, Prince Harry travels Wednesday to Greenwich, Conn., to captain a polo team as part of the Sentebale Polo Cup.
The Associated Press and Tom Mongelli contributed to this story