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Day Two of the Autumn Tour: Singapore

31st October 2017

The Prince on the TreeTops Walk in MacRitchie Reservoir Park

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

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."

HRH The Prince of Wales's response to The President of Singapore's Toast Official Dinner at the Istana

Published on 31st October 2017

Madam President, Prime Minister, Distinguished Guests, Ladies & Gentlemen

It gives my wife and I the greatest possible pleasure to be in Singapore and to be able to enjoy your splendid hospitality this evening.

Although my wife and I have both made numerous short visits to Singapore in recent years, we could not be more delighted that on this Official Visit we have time to experience so much more of what makes Singapore so very special.

Today Singapore is a truly remarkable place - a thriving and dynamic State that has so marvellously realized founding Prime Minister Mr Lee KuanYew's vision for "a sovereign democratic and independent nation, founded upon the principles of liberty and justice."

When Sir Stamford Raffles and Colonel William Farquhar arrived on this island, 198 years ago, he could scarcely have imagined the shining future that lay ahead of it; and yet he was prescient enough to realize that it had extraordinary potential. The bustling commercial hub that Singapore became within a few short decades of Raffles and Farquhar'sarrival was the seed from which the global city that we see today has grown so impressively.

It gives me tremendous pride that, as Singapore has flourished over the decades, so has her friendship with the United Kingdom. We have prospered together and, as my wife and I acknowledged at the Cenotaph this morning, we have suffered together too.

Today, ours is a close partnership of equals, underpinned by our shared history and, if I may say so, by the trust and understanding that come with true friendsh ...

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