Prince Harry takes part in Rio de Janeiro charity mile

Rio is one of 14 cities identified for Britain's biggest ever tourism campaign

Prince Harry has completed a charity run in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro in eight-and-a-half minutes, while donning a Prince William paper mask.

The prince, who never misses an opportunity to poke a bit of fun at his older brother, had begun the Sport Relief mile without the item.

Earlier he had said that Britain and Brazil were "forging bonds that will stand the test of time."

His three-day visit to the country aims to encourage more visitors to Britain.

The Great initiative is a £25m campaign to encourage Brazilians to visit the UK.

The campaign, coinciding with the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympic Games, is aimed at encouraging more people to visit, study and do business in Britain.

He is thought to have been given the mask by one of the other runners during the race near to Rio de Janeiro's Flamengo beach, and decided to put it on as a last-minute jest.

Briefly, the spare was the heir.

When someone offered Harry a Prince William face mask, the jogging joker younger brother wore it.

Once, royals might have just stood and watched - running a Sport Relief mile in the baking Brazilian heat could have been seen as undignified.

But the prince took part and is part of the future of an evolving institution.

On Flamengo beach, with Sugar Loaf mountain as the backdrop, this was an occasion devoted to sport.

Harry was there to promote the UK. In return, the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt - who's accompanying him - promoted the prince, saying he was worth "a thousand politicians".

This is Prince Harry's first major overseas trip. There'll be many more.

The monarchy needs what Diana's son provides.

He was joined for part of his sprint by 17-year-old blind 200m runner and long-jump athlete Alice de Oliveura Correio.

She said: "To run with 'William' was fantastic, very cool."

Model Lily Cole, who was among those taking part in the run, said: "It's been amazing running the Sport Relief Mile today but it's so much hotter than in my gym."

'Pulling power'

Prince Harry also took part in a game of mixed beach volleyball - where he wore a customised shirt in the colours of the Brazilian flag.

World-class Brazilian volleyball player Adriana Behar gave the prince a helping hand as she was on his team.

He also played a friendly game of touch rugby before visiting the Complexo do Alemao favela - home to 200,000 people.

The 27-year-old prince had earlier joked about the Duke of Cambridge's dancing abilities during a speech to launch the campaign.

He said: "Everything about Rio makes you want to dance.

"I'm just so thankful that my brother isn't here because he might actually do it... and that would not be cool."

The brothers often have a friendly dig at each other during speeches when they are on tour.

Rio is one of 14 cities identified for Britain's biggest ever tourism campaign, including Mumbai, Sao Paulo, and Shanghai.

Prince Harry talks to young boy The prince had fun with children playing touch rugby

On Saturday Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that Prince Harry had "extraordinary celebrity pulling power".

"He's self effacing, he's interested, he really engages with people, he joins in - great qualities - and I just think we're incredibly lucky to have a Royal Family that does such a good job in banging the drum for Britain," he said.

He added this was the UK's opportunity to tell the world of its achievements - in sport, culture, and everything else.

"This is a year if we bang the drum loud enough we've got a chance to create jobs for British people and business for British companies," he added.

During his trip to Brazil, the prince will also be playing polo to raise funds for Sentebale, a charity which helps children in Lesotho, Africa.

The prince earlier toured Belize, the Bahamas and Jamaica, representing the Queen for her Diamond Jubilee.

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