‘Surprise!’ as Prince Harry joins Michelle Obama for Mother’s Day Tea

Britain’s Prince Harry drew cheers and shrieks of delight Thursday as he made a surprise appearance at a Mother's Day Tea hosted by first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden's wife.

Obama did all the talking as the guests in the State Dining Room of the White House, chiefly women in the military, their children, their mothers and some military spouses, snapped phone-camera pictures and chattered excitedly.

The first lady—President Barack Obama was out of town—emphasized Harry's service in Britain's military and noted he had returned in January from his second tour in Afghanistan.

"For the past few years, he has focused on honoring the sacrifice and service of our veterans and military families, especially now that the war in Afghanistan is drawing to a close," she said.

"We are absolutely thrilled that he could be with us today," the first lady said, adding that her husband "wanted to be here to personally thank you for your service."

But then, a warning:

Harry "only has a limited time with us because he has a very busy schedule," she said.

So the first lady, Biden, and Prince Harry went to the Blue Room adjacent with a plan to greet as many guests as possible.

"Prince Harry is going to stay as long as he can, and our goal is to get through everyone, but whenever he has to leave, we'll pull him out," Obama said. Shortly afterwards, a loudspeaker announcement advised: "Ladies and gentlemen, please remain at your table until directed by a social aide."

Harry is on his way this weekend to the Warrior Games in Colorado Springs for wounded or injured soldiers.