LONDON - A day after winning an Olympic silver medal, Canadian rower Malcolm Howard was mingling with royalty.
Prince Harry dropped by Canada Olympic House on Thursday afternoon for a surprise visit. He was escorted into the main lobby area and greeted by Howard, who showed him his medal.
"It's heavy, eh?" said Howard, as the prince inspected the hardware.
Only a handful of the over 100 guests on hand knew about the prince's visit beforehand. Many were curious about why media members had assembled near a lobby entrance with cameras at the ready.
When the prince strolled in, the room came alive as the cameras flashed. The famous visitor was looking sharp in a crisp blue shirt and blazer complete with an Olympic pin on the lapel.
Prince Harry spent about 20 minutes in the building near Trafalgar Square, in the heart of London.
He asked Howard how he was enjoying the Games. The veteran rower said he was just starting to now because his men's eight crewmates were so focused on racing.
Howard added that they chatted about subjects like flying, the city and his sport of rowing.
"He's totally cool," Howard said. "He's just another guy."
The prince spoke with a few other athletes and mingled with their family members during the informal visit. He also talked with Canadian kayaker Michael Tayler, who failed to advance in the slalom qualifying on Wednesday.
"It was really cool, such a nice friendly guy," Tayler said. "He wanted to know how my London experience was going and how the venue was."
Tayler also asked the prince where the best place was in London to go out.
"I don't go out anymore, I'm too old, I'm too old," Prince Harry said with a smile.
The prince later sat down with Howard and others gathered near a big-screen television to watch as Canada rowed to a silver medal in the women's eight. Howard won his medal in the men's eight a day earlier.
Harry was smiling and enjoying the race as the guests cheered on the Canadian boat. Shortly afterwards, Harry shook hands with Howard and the prince was escorted from the room.
Harry did not speak to reporters during the brief visit. He has been spotted around town throughout the Games, often taking in the live action with other members of the Royal Family.
"It was definitely one of the coolest moments of the Olympics so far for me," said Tayler, who was told about the surprise visit a night earlier.
"It was all top secret," he added. "So it was hard, I couldn't tell anyone but my family. It was a hard secret to keep."