British Prince Harry was a surprise guest at a White House tea party for U.S. military families, officials said.

"Well ... Surprise!" first lady Michelle Obama told guests Thursday as the blushing, 28-year-old prince joined them in the East Room where they had been munching on cookies, cakes and smoked salmon.

"He's only got a limited amount of time with us but when he heard about the tea party and all of you, he wanted to be part of it to personally thank you for your service," Obama said.

A captain in the Army Air Corps of the British Army, Prince Harry "spends much of his time supporting our wounded, warriors and families of our fallen," Obama told the crowd.

The prince warmly spoke to luncheon guests and even helped some of the younger attendees work on a craft project, said.

The appearance was part of a weeklong tour of the United States.

The prince arrived Thursday and made his first U.S. stop at the Senate office building to view a land mine exhibit by the Halo Trust with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the BBC reported.

The Halo Trust is an anti-land mine charity supported by the prince's late mother, Princess Diana.

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The prince finished up his first day in the United States with a reception and dinner at the British Embassy, USA Today reported.

He was to visit Arlington Cemetery and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Friday. He is to fly to Colorado during the weekend to attend the Warrior Games for wounded veterans, and later tour the Hurricane Sandy damage with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.