The Prince in South Asia
I’m one of those people who was brought up surrounded by so many objects and pictures and stories about the sub-continent and about South Asia. So perhaps you can imagine why I’ve developed such an interest going back such a long way. I happen to have a particular affection and interest in that part of the world.
"I’m one of those people who was brought up surrounded by so many objects and pictures and stories about the sub-continent and about South Asia. So perhaps you can imagine why I’ve developed such an interest going back such a long way. I happen to have a particular affection and interest in that part of the world." - The Prince of Wales at the annual British Asian Trust dinner, Windsor Castle, 2012.
The Prince of Wales first visited South Asia in February 1975 with at the age of 26 with a visit to New Delhi. Over four decades The Prince has made numerous visits to the region, at the request of the British Government to promote British interests, to represent Her Majesty The Queen.
The Prince's many visits to India, a Commonwealth Nation, have encompassed the different facets of this fascinating country. In 1980 The Prince met Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, visited the Taj Mahal, met Mother Theresa in Calcutta, visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar and met Christian "untouchables" in Orissa, amongst many other engagements. In 1991 The Prince represented Her Majesty The Queen at the funeral of Rajiv Gandhi. On a visit to India in 1992, The Prince and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, visited Delhi, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Bangalore together. One notable event was The Princess's visit to the Leprosy Mission Hospital in Calcutta and Mother Theresa's Home for Abandoned Children and Hospice.
The Prince has also visited India more recently, with his wife The Duchess of Cornwall. In March 2006, one year after their wedding, Their Royal Highnesses visited New Delhi, Chandigarh, Jodhpur and Jaipur together. The Duchess of Cornwall had previously visited India on a private basis. During their trip with a very busy programme Their Royal Highnesses visited Artiya Village in Jodphur to see an example of water conservation measures in Rajasthan villages The Prince is President of WaterAid. The Prince and The Duchess also met local craftsmen at the Mehrangarh Fort and watched the grand procession at the closing ceremony of Rajasthan Day celebrations, called the Rajasthan Diwas.
The Prince and The Duchess again visited India in 2010, when The Prince represented The Queen at the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Their Royal Highnesses also went to the Punjab and Rajasthan, where they were hosted by Their Highnesses The Maharajah and Maharani of Patiala and Maharaja and Maharani of Jodphur. On a visit to Tolesar Charan village in Jodphur with His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II, the Maharaja of Jodphur, to see the work of the Jal Bhagirathi Foundation which helped local people to enhance the capacity of their traditional water management systems, The Prince and the Maharaja took part in a traditional "rain dance" with villagers.
You can see the video on the BBC website.
As Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Gurkha Rifles since 1977, The Prince has had a constant and enduring link to Nepal. The Prince has visited a few regions in Nepal including Kathmandu, Patichaur, Besishahar. His first visit to Nepal was in 1975 when The Prince attended the coronation of King Bidendra, visited the Gurkhas and trekked through the foothills of the Himalayas. The Prince has been to Nepal three times since.
In 2006 The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited Pakistan, a Commonwealth Nation, to support the breadth of the partnership between the UK and Pakistan, and to highlight the shared heritage and community links between both nations. On that visit Their Royal Highnesses visited Islamabad, Peshawar, Pattika, Lahore and some villages in Skardu. Their Royal Highnesses were keen not only to visit the capital but also cities and rural communities throughout the country, including areas that had been devastated by the 2005 earthquake. On the last leg of the tour of Pakistan The Prince and The Duchess were accompanied by His Highness The Aga Khan and toured Nansoq, which sits next to the striking snow-capped mountains of the Karakoram range.
Supporting communities affected by natural disasters was The Prince's aim when he visited Sri Lanka (a Commonwealth Nation) in February 2005. The Prince was eager to see first-hand the devastation caused by the tsunami disaster and the ongoing efforts to rebuild the country's coastal communities. His Royal Highness visited one of the areas worst hit by the tsunami, the Batticaloa district, where one in 10 people died on Boxing Day in 2004. When he arrived at the village of Navaldy, Batticaloa, a garland of flowers was draped around The Prince's neck and a yellow and white 'pootu' mark was made on his forehead in a traditional Sri Lankan greeting. The Prince also visited the village of Maddikkali, where locals were living in temporary tent shelters. The Prince had previously visited Sri Lanka in February 1998.
In February 1998 The Prince visited Bhutan to to renew Britain’s long-standing relations and establish links with the Bhutanese Royal Family. Those links still remain and in May 2011 The Prince and The Duchess received The King and Queen of Bhutan, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema at their official residence in London, Clarence House.
The Prince of Wales visits mother Theresa's Shishu Bhavan
The Prince of Wales visits Nepal in 1998.
The Prince of Wales visits Nepal in 1998.
The Prince of Wales visits Gujurat in 1980.
The Prince of Wales visits Jaipur in 1980
The Duchess of Cornwall meets pupils during a tour of the Veerni Project in Jodhpur, India.
In 1997 The Prince of Wales visited Dhaka and Sylhet in Bangladesh (a Commonwealth Nation). In addition to calling on the then President Shahabuddin Ahmed and Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, The Prince undertook various engagements including visiting ActionAid projects in Tikkapara slum in the Muhammadpu district of Dhaka. The Prince of Wales has been the Patron of Actionaid since 1995 and wanted to see their work with 8000 residents in the Muhammadpur district. Thousands of slum dwellers turned out to see The Prince as he met various members of the community. The Prince also opened the "Muslims in Britain" exhibition at the British Council Library. The exhibition included contributions from the Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts Department at The Prince of Wales Institute of Architecture and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. During his visit to Bangladesh, The Prince praised the contribution of the Bangladeshi community to Britain.
On 23rd March 2010 The Prince of Wales made a surprise trip to Afghanistan ”“ becoming the most senior royal to visit British troops on the frontline - and said he was "incredibly proud" of the Armed Forces.
The Prince was very pleased to have spent time with troops, having been keen to make the trip for several years. During the two-day tour, The Prince visited bases in Nad-e-Ali, where much of the UK's effort was based during Operation Moshtarak, and Lashkar Gah. The Prince was briefed on the progress troops were making and then laid a wreath paying tribute to fallen soldiers at Camp Bastion.
The Prince, a Commander-in-Chief of 10 UK regiments, and 10 Commonwealth regiments, spent the night with soldiers at Camp Bastion, in Helmand Province, after visiting Kabul.
In Kabul The Prince visited regeneration and traditional craft projects run by the Turquoise Mountain charity. His Royal Highness and President Hamid Karzai founded the charity in 2006. The three aims were to regenerate a historic area of Afghanistan's capital, train men and women in Afghan traditional arts, and spur on the sustainable development of the nation’s craft industries.
Since being established the charity has made a huge impact on the precinct of Murad Khane, which is a multi-ethnic commercial and residential precinct in Kabul's Old City.
Although The Prince of Wales has never been to Tibet, for many years he has been concerned about the situation of the people of Tibet and has been impressed by His Holiness The Dalai Lama's efforts to seek a peaceful resolution. The Prince of Wales and The Dalai Lama have met on several occasions. On that occasion The Prince and The Duchess of Cornwall received His Holiness at their London residence Clarence House for a private meeting, after which The Dalai Lama went to check the progress of the tree he planted in the Clarence House garden in 2008 during his last visit before being greeted by members of The Prince's staff.
After a brief tour of the Clarence House garden the Dalai Lama grasped The Prince's hand, stopped in front of the waiting media and said about The Prince: "This gentleman right from the beginning, I felt very nice person, good human."
He went on to say "... through his own actions he (has) proved a very wonderful, sensible, good human being".
The Dalai Lama then urged The Prince to continue his charitable work by saying, "Please carry (on) your work, your spirit, continuously."
Their Royal Highnesses host a pre-tour reception for India and Sri Lanka
The Dalai Lama visits Clarence House
Turquoise Mountain: Rebuilding Murad Khane, Afghanistan
The British Asian Trust
The Prince's Charities
Having spent most of his life trying to meet the needs of others through various charitable endeavours, The Prince has also set-up charities to support communities and NGOs in South Asia.
British Asian Trust
In addition to the work done by Turquoise Mountain in Afghanistan, several of The Prince of Wales's Charities operate in various countries in South Asia.
The Prince's British Asian Trust, which was established in 2007 by British Asian business leaders at the suggestion of The Prince of Wales brings lasting change to the lives of poor people in South Asia through access to education, health and livelihoods.
Since its inception The Trust has worked with South Asian NGOs to touch the lives of one million disadvantaged people by tackling various issues including mental health, child abuse and providing business MBA’s for illiterate rural women.
The Trust works in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Find out more about The British Asian Trust.
The Prince's Youth Business International (YBI)
The Prince's Youth Business International (YBI), which was founded by The Prince of Wales in 2000, is a global network of independent non-profit initiatives helping young people start and grow their own business and create employment.
YBI supports under-served young entrepreneurs, aged 18 to 35, with a combination of training, access to capital, mentoring, and other business development services.
YBI members have helped over 100,000 young people to create their own business and generate employment. An estimated 70 per cent of these businesses are still trading after three years, with many going on to create significant levels of employment and further benefits for their communities.
YBI works through various organisations in India, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.
Find out more about The Prince's Youth Business International.