"Playboy Prince" Harry on serious visit to D.C.

Prince Harry
Prince Harry of England speaks after receiving the Distinguished Humanitarian Leadership Award at the Atlantic Council's Annual Awards Dinner Honoring HRH Prince Harry at Ritz Carlton Hotel on May 7, 2012 in Washington, DC.
Getty Images/Paul Morigi

(CBS News) WASHINGTON - Britain's Prince Harry is making his first trip to Washington, looking more like a diplomat than a so-called playboy prince.

And there's a serious reason for his visit.

He got a welcome fit for a rock star when he arrived.

But this was no frivolous occasion.

"We must be there for our servicemen and women and their families, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with them, always," Harry said.

He was accepting an award from the Atlantic Council. a Washington-based think tank, in recognition of his work on behalf of wounded servicemen and women through a foundation he established with his older brother, Prince William.

Harry, now 27, even shared the stage with former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who joked about his popularity with the ladies, observing, "We have a record number of young single women attending this year." The audience laughed.

Earlier, at the British Embassy, Harry met with injured British and American troops, whose respect he had already earned by serving 11 weeks on the front lines in Afghanistan. He's currently training to be an Apache helicopter pilot.

Harry's visit follows a trip in March to Central America and the Caribbean -- his first official trip on behalf of the queen.

"I'm definitely not a diplomat," Harry said at the time. "I've come representing my grandmother, essentially."

It's all part of a long-term effort by the royal family to help Harry shed his image as the party prince.

For years, Harry was best-known for for playing polo, escorting beautiful women, getting into scuffles with photographers and, on more than one occasion, appearing to be inebriated.

But more recently, Harry, who's third in line for the throne behind his father, Prince Charles and his brother, is sending a message that he's all grown up.

He said as much to CBS News correspondent Seth Doane earlier this year. "We're very privileged in the position that we are," Harry remarked to Doane. "But you know, with privilege comes great responsibility, is what they say."

And while Prince Harry is in Washington, he's still making headlines at home: Various reports are circulating that his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, may back in the picture.

To see Chip Reid's report, click on the video in the player above.

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    Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.