Royal Overseas Visits
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall undertake official visits every year at the request of the British Government, to enhance and protect the UK’s overseas interests.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited Ireland in May 2016, at the request of the British Government. The visit was Their Royal Highnesses’ second official visit to Ireland, building on the success of the State Visits of Her Majesty The Queen to Ireland in May 2011 and of The President of Ireland to the UK in April 2014.
In Donegal Town, Their Royal Highnesses celebrated the area’s heritage by visiting Magee’s – a local company which has been producing tweed in Donegal for 150 years. At the Letterkenny Institute of Technology, The Prince met local entrepreneurs and learnt more about the institute’s cross border programmes; meanwhile Her Royal Highness met pupils at Ballyraine National School. Their Royal Highnesses also toured the stunning gardens at Glenveagh Castle and spoke to children learning about some of the conservation work which takes place in the National Park. The visit recognised the warm friendship that exists between the UK and Ireland, promoting understanding of their respective heritage and celebrating the best that each has to offer.
“The relationship between Britain and Ireland is now better than ever and the relationship between the communities on this island has changed fundamentally since the Peace Agreement of 1998. This is as evident here as anywhere. The border is of the merest consequence and County Donegal, County Derry or Londonderry and County Tyrone operate as a single economic entity, to the great benefit of their inhabitants. I can only applaud the people of all three counties for proving that it is possible for communities that had been divided for so long to overcome their differences and create a peaceful and prosperous life together. I do so hope that the example you have set will be copied in other areas of the world that have suffered so much conflict.”
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales at a speech given at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Donegal, Ireland
Celebrating partnerships and promoting opportunity and tolerance
In November 2016, at the request of the British Government, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall undertook over fifty engagements in seven days during their official visits to the Sultanate of Oman, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain. Their Royal Highnesses were accompanied by Tobias Ellwood MP, Minister of State for the Middle East and Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The visit highlighted the UK’s partnership in the region in key areas such as religious tolerance, military cooperation, women in leadership, youth opportunities, and wildlife conservation.
During the visit, The Prince of Wales held talks with Heads of State and other leaders including His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, Sultan of Oman; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai; His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah and His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain.
The Duchess of Cornwall was hosted by the senior figures in the region including Princess Haya, wife of the Ruler of Dubai. Sheikha Fatima, mother of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi), otherwise known as the Mother of the Nation, received The Duchess of Cornwall – an honour rarely accorded to visitors. In Bahrain, the wife of The King, Princess Sabeeka, hosted The Duchess at the Supreme Council of Women.
Strengthening European ties in Romania, Italy, The Holy See and Austria
This year, Their Royal Highnesses visited Romania, Italy, The Holy See and Austria at the request of the British Government. Between 29th and 31st March, the period covered by this annual review, The Prince of Wales visited Romania and was joined by The Duchess of Cornwall in Florence for the first day of their visit to Italy. The tour celebrated the UK’s links with these countries and highlighted partnerships in areas including social cohesion, military ties and combatting human trafficking.
In Romania, His Royal Highness held talks with the President and Prime Minister and undertook a number of engagements to highlight the importance of the preservation of the country’s cultural heritage, as well as Romania’s rich history in architecture and craftsmanship. The Prince of Wales also paid his respects at the country’s National War Memorial, before attending a meeting with the Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis.
Their Royal Highnesses started their tour of Italy in Florence, where they visited The British Institute of Florence to celebrate its 100th anniversary. The cultural institute was established in 1917 to promote Anglo-Italian relations, and continues to do so today through the many courses it teaches for adults and children alike.
The Duchess of Cornwall is a long-standing literacy advocate and visited children learning English at the institute, of which The Prince of Wales has been Patron for nearly 30 years. Her Royal Highness donated a selection of books for the young readers to use during their studies.