Day Two of the Autumn Tour: Singapore

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall were formally welcomed to Singapore today with a ceremony of military pomp and pageantry.

Their Royal Highnesses were greeted by the City state's first female president Halimah Yacob, with the heir to the throne inspecting a guard of honour in the grounds of Istana, the official home of the Head of State.

Later that day, The Prince and The Duchess paid their respects to Singapore's war dead during a poignant ceremony at the city state's Cenotaph memorial. Their Royal Highnesses stood with other dignitaries, military veterans and serving personnel to observe a minute's silence, and The Prince laid a wreath with the blooms made into the shape of The Prince of Wales's feathers.

A handwritten card left by The Prince read: "In grateful remembrance of your service and sacrifice - Charles."

The Cenotaph was built in memory of 124 Singaporean men who served and died during the First World War.

In the afternoon, The Duchess of Cornwall attended a Commonwealth Literacy event at Temasek Junior College. Her Royal Highness met with participants of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, including Wan Gee, runner-up in 2016. The competition has been managed by The Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883 and is the world’s oldest schools’ international writing competition.

Meanwhile, His Royal Highness, who is a strong advocate of interfaith dialogue, met leaders from different faith groups at The Harmony Centre, Singapore. A study by the Pew Research Centre in 2014 considered Singapore to be the most religiously diverse country in the world.

The Harmony Centre
The Harmony Centre

Later that afternoon, The Prince of Wales had a close encounter with a snake as he embarked on a tree-top adventure in a tropical rainforest.

Faced with a  bronzeback snake The Prince asked: "That's a non-poisonous one?" The reptile, which was around half a metre long, had wound itself around the hand of Yi Fei Chung, a conservation manager with the National Parks Board, who reassured Charles the common animal was not venomous.

Later Charles was led along a rainforest path and then on to a walkway that took him 25 metres up into the canopy with a view of the forest. A conservationist was on hand to ward off any potential monkey raiders as His Royal Highness ventured along the walkway.

In the evening, Their Royal Highnesses attended a reception and dinner at the Presidential Palace. The Prince of Wales used the first speech of his south-east Asia tour to speak passionately about how much the Commonwealth means to him personally.

His Royal Highness told Singapore's rulers that the family of nations - which has the Queen as its head - has a special importance to him which has been a "cornerstone" of his life.

"At the core of our relationship, Madam President, is our shared belief that, by working together, one plus one can equal so much more than two.

"It was so important to my wife and I that, as we look forward to the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London next year, we should start this Commonwealth tour in Singapore where the very first CHOGM was held 46 years ago.

"Singapore is an essential and deeply valued member of our Commonwealth family, the special importance of which has been a cornerstone in my life as, of course, it has been for Her Majesty the Queen."

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