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Opening comments by Scott Furssedonn-Wood, Deputy Private Secretary for The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall regarding Their Royal Highnesses' upcoming visit to Europe

Published on 16th March 2017

At the request of the British Government, Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will visit Italy, The Holy See and Austria from 31 March to 6 April. The Prince of Wales will also visit Romania from 29-31 March.

Across the nine days of the Tour, Their Royal Highnesses will undertake over 50 engagements that will highlight the United Kingdom's relationship with our European partners in areas including social cohesion, military co-operation and combatting human trafficking. 

Clarence House has worked closely with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and with the British Embassies in Bucharest, Rome, The Holy See and Vienna to design a programme that celebrates the breadth and the depth of the UK's partnership with each country and which reflects Their Royal Highnesses's deep interest and expertise on a range of issues.  The host Governments have been closely involved as the programmes have developed and at various points during the tour Their Royal Highnesses will be joined by Ministers from both the British Government and the host Governments.

I'd now like to talk you through some of the highlights of the programme:
In Romania, The Prince will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Romania's national war memorial, before calling on President Iohannis. He will also attend a workshop to discuss the strong collaboration between the UK and Romania in tackling the shared challenge of human trafficking.

The Prince will attend an event to showcase initiatives to preserve traditional skills and vernacular architecture, including projects of his own Foundation in Romania. He will later visit the National Theatre in Bucharest where he will meet performers and technicians and watch a short performance that showcases the best of Romanian acting, music, dance and set design.

His Royal Highness will also visit an orphanage run by The FARA Foundation, a charity of which he is Patron, which transforms the lives of vulnerable and traumatised children and young people.

From Romania, The Prince will travel to Florence on 31 March where Their Royal Highnesses joint programme in Italy will begin. Together they will attend an event and a dinner to celebrate the centenary of the British Institute in Florence, of which the Prince is Patron. At the dinner, which will be hosted jointly between the British Institute and the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation, His Royal Highness will be presented with the 'Renaissance Man of the Year' Award by the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation.

The Prince will visit the town of Amatrice, in central Italy, which was badly hit by an earthquake in August 2016. He will meet a number of families affected by the disaster and meet the emergency services and others involved in the initial response and the ongoing reconstruction effort. Later, in Florence, both Their Royal Highnesses will attend an event to showcase some of the best 'Slow Food' from the Amatrice region and meet farmers and food producers affected by the earthquake.

They will also attend an event to recognise the work of The Prince's 'Campaign for Wool', which raises awareness amongst consumers about the unique, natural, renewable and biodegradable benefits that wool offers. 

The Prince will visit North East Italy where he will mark the centenary of the deployment of British Forces to the Austrian Front in 1917 and pay his respects to those, from all countries, who gave their lives in that conflict.

The Duchess of Cornwall will visit Naples for a series of engagements, including a visit to 'La Gloriette', a project to support vulnerable people and help them integrate into their communities, which is based in a villa confiscated from the mafia.  She will also visit the ancient Roman site of Herculaneum, where she will hear how international expertise is supporting some of the excavations.

Their Royal Highnesses will travel to Rome, where they will meet President Mattarella of Italy. The Prince will also visit the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation to hear about their work to address the worsening famine in the Horn of Africa and the significant contribution which is being made by UK Aid.

The Prince and the Duchess will visit The Holy See, where they will meet His Holiness Pope Francis, and will tour parts of the Vatican.

On 5 April, Their Royal Highnesses will travel to Vienna where they will meet Austrian President Van der Bellen. The Prince and the Duchess will undertake a number of engagements that celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Vienna. They will visit the Wiener Musikverein to hear the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra rehearse. They will meet the musicians before viewing items from the Musikverein's archive of original scores by composers such as Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms. The Duchess will also pay a visit to the world famous Spanish Riding School, where she will tour the stables and meet the riders and trainers. The Prince and Duchess will visit an organic heuriger where they will sample a range of local organic produce and learn about the production of Austrian wine. 

His Royal Highness will also visit the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe where he will join discussions taking place on the two themes of modern slavery and freedom of religion and belief.

This will be The Prince's 20th official visit to Italy and The Duchess's second.  The Prince has undertaken two previous visits to the Vatican, and The Duchess of Cornwall one. His Royal Highness has visited Austria officially 3 times and this will be The Duchess's first official visit. The Prince of Wales has visited Romania officially once before.