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Prince Charles, Camilla visit Harlem

Prince Charles arrived for a two-day trip in the U.S. and his first visit to Philadelphia, the city where American colonists declared their independence from British rule more than two centuries ago.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla visited Harlem Sunday in their whirlwind American weekend, making a stop at a charter school where they answered children's questions and the prince took some time to shoot hoops with a basketball team.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived in New York from Philadelphia by a private train and visited the Harlem Children's Zone's Promise Academy. The royal couple are on a weekend visit to the United States that focuses on youth development, urban renewal and environmental stewardship.

At the school, they visited an after-school program that teaches middle school students about finances. The participants receive money if their virtual stock investments are successful, and don't lose any money if their picks tank.

Pupil Tiffany Vargas, 13, asked the prince if his multimillion dollar line of organic foods, Duchy Originals, was on the stock market.

"No," the prince told her, "it's still a private company. We haven't got quite to that stage yet."

They then visited a health clinic where children, sitting at computers, learned about asthma.

Charles and Camilla also watched a rehearsal for a Shakespeare play and a basketball practice. Charles, wearing a blue double-breasted blue suit, blue shirt and striped tie, attempted two shots. He missed the first but made the second, drawing applause.

"My son was up all night waiting for this," said Arona Pratt, the mother of one of the players. Pratt said Camilla, who wore a brown coat with a beaded collar and leopard print cuffs, "is pretty."

After visiting the school, the couple went on a terrace giving them a panoramic view of Harlem, including the office building where former President Clinton has an office and the Hotel Theresa, where Cuban leader Fidel Castro stayed decades ago.

Earlier in the day, the couple waved to adoring fans in Philadelphia, where they spent the day Saturday, as they walked to a private church service. Afterward, they boarded the New York-bound private train, accompanied by the dean of Temple University's School of Education, C. Kent McGuire and several other Philadelphia-area community leaders.

"The prince was gracious and engaged," said McGuire, who said the prince talked about urban redevelopment and other issues his 17 foundations address.

On Sunday evening in New York, Prince Charles was to receive an award from Harvard Medical School's Center for Health and the Global Environment. He also was expected to give a speech on environmental issues. Last year's recipient, former Vice President Al Gore, was scheduled to present the award.

While Charles has won kudos from environmentalists for his calls to action on global warming, British environmentalists have said the prince should have abstained from flying to the United States. In response, Charles' office said it would cancel a skiing trip to Switzerland, a gesture that would reduce his carbon footprint -- the carbon dioxide created by his travels.

The couple have been to New York once before, in November 2005, when they visited ground zero.