Harry brings cheer to boy on hospital visit after rain affects his schedule

Prince Harry found himself wrapped in the arms of a little boy when he visited a hospital ahead of Barbados' independence celebrations featuring global superstar Rihanna.

Harry's impromptu trip was added to his schedule after torrential rain, which fell yesterday, disrupted events planned for today to mark the 50th anniversary of Barbados becoming an independent nation.

Soon after walking through the doors of the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in the capital Bridgetown, Kyrique McKenzie, aged nine, threw his arms around the royal as he toured the institution's paediatric unit.

And the playful prince stuck his tongue out at the youngster who is recovering from a traumatic accident.

Dressed casually in a blue linen shirt with the sleeves rolled up and dark grey trousers, the prince had spotted Kyrique, who was suffering from memory loss and multiple injuries after being hit by a car in September and who also had a tracheotomy.

As soon as Harry crouched down to speak to the boy at his bedside, the youngster wrapped his arms around the royal's neck.

"Ah, a big hug," Harry exclaimed and asked "Do you like giving hugs?"

Sensing that the boy was struggling to speak due to the throat procedure, Harry asked: "Does it hurt? Is talking hard? I won't ask you to talk, don't worry."

He then took the child's hand and started playing "thumb war," which made the youngster giggle.

The boy's father Kerry, 36, explained how Kyrique had just left the family home in the southern parish of St Philip when he was run over.

He sustained multiple injuries including a punctured lung, which made the tracheotomy necessary.

Kerry said: "He was hit by a car and was unconscious for two weeks. It's affected him very badly, he's lost all his short term memory, been partially paralysed down his right side and has lost all his fine motor skills.

"Only time will tell what kind of recovery he will make."

A concerned Harry told the boy: "You have been incredibly brave, do you know that? You have to keep smiling and you have to keep on being brave for your dad, okay?"

Harry also met 11-week-old baby boy Racai Phillips, who was admitted last week with bronchiolitis, a respiratory infection that affects newborns and children.

The prince laughed when he read the slogan on the baby's vest: "If I'm not sleeping, nobody's sleeping", exclaiming: "That's a fantastic t-shirt!"

Harry later joined paediatric consultant Dr Amok Kumar to discuss the hospital's work on HIV and Aids.

The prince last visited Queen Elizabeth II Hospital during his 2010 tour of Caribbean, his first visit to Barbados, where he was photographed holding newborn baby boy Jean-Luc Jordan.

Tuesday's heavy showers caused localised flooding and forced organisers to postpone a major televised event, the unveiling of the 50th Anniversary of Independence National Monument, and reschedule it.

Rihanna will appear later at a concert extravaganza marking Barbados's milestone anniversary with Harry likely to meet the global superstar at the event held on the country's independence day.