Their Royal Highnesses will be visiting the United States between 17th and 20th March at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. They are delighted to be returning to America. His Royal Highness last visited in 2011 and Her Royal Highness in 2007. Of course, Britain's relationship with the United States is of quite exceptional importance. This visit will further emphasise the remarkable partnership that exists between our two countries. There will be a particular focus on combatting climate change, creating opportunities for young people and encouraging corporate social responsibility. The depth of our two countries' shared history will be evident in the programme.
In broad terms, the visit will be in two parts. From Their Royal Highness's arrival to the morning of Friday, 20 March they will be undertaking engagements in and around Washington DC. They will spend 20 March in Louisville, Kentucky.
The visit will coincide with no fewer than four major anniversaries, at least that I am aware of: the 150th of the death of President Lincoln; the 50th of the Selma march, a defining moment in the civil rights movement. I would just say as a quick digression that the star of the film 'Selma', David Oyelowo was at the beginning of his career a beneficiary of a grant from The Prince's Trust. Continuing with the anniversaries, it is the 800th of the signing of Magna Carta and the 60th of the Marshall Scholarships Programme.
President Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. Their Royal Highnesses will visit the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, in the grounds of which is the 'Lincoln Cottage', where the President spent much of his time in the summer months and where he finalised the proclamation of emancipation of slaves. The Home is broadly analogous with the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, with which it exchanges visits. However, the residents of the Home come from all of the American armed services as well as the US Coastguard. They enjoy superb facilities and healthcare. Unlike the Chelsea Pensioners, they don't wear uniforms.
The Prince and The Duchess will visit Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington in Virginia, just outside Washington. The house itself is meticulously maintained to look as it did in General Washington's day. The surrounding estate also demonstrates some of the agricultural and horticultural practices of the eighteenth century.
His Royal Highness will mark the extraordinary importance of Magna Carta to the United States with a visit to the National Archives where he will see the Charters of Freedom: the Declaration of Independence; the US Constitution; and the Bill of Rights. He will also see what you might consider to be a modern copy of Magna Carta: it is a mere 718 years old. Magna Carta's fundamental principles are embodied in the American Constitution.
The Prince of Wales will be honoured by the International Conservation Caucus Foundation, or ICCF, with the Teddy Roosevelt International Conservation Award. The ICCF is a bipartisan grouping that brings together leaders at the highest level of government, business, and the NGO community to set the conservation and environmental agenda. This is a wonderful recognition by the US Congress of the work that His Royal Highness has done over more than four decades to promote a sustainable future.
The Prince of Wales is the Honorary Patron of the Association of Marshall Scholars. He will mark their Anniversary at a reception at the State Department. The Marshall Scholarships were created by the British Government to thank the American people for the assistance given to Europe in the aftermath of WWII through the European Recovery Programme - commonly known as the Marshall Plan. The Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the United Kingdom. Many have gone on to fill leading positions in many fields and have been important Ambassadors for the relationship between the UK and the US.
The Duchess of Cornwall will launch Women of the World (WOW) Washington, alongside Jude Kelly, the Founder of WOW. Women of the World Festival is a global festival that celebrates the achievements of women and girls and looks at the obstacles that prevent them from achieving their full potential and contributing to the world. The Duchess of Cornwall has supported WOW since its inception in 2011, and has hosted two receptions at Clarence House to mark the start of the annual festival. In 2012, Her Royal Highness attended a reception to mark the pre-launch of the Women of the World Festival in Australia.
The Duchess of Cornwall has devoted huge effort to highlighting the plight of the victims of sexual violence. She has visited many centres that work with these victims in the United Kingdom and abroad. In Washington Her Royal Highness will attend a meeting of the District of Colombia Sexual Assault response Team, or SART, at the department of Forensic Sciences. SART is a coalition of 12 public and private community agencies which are working both to help the victims and to manage educational programmes aimed at preventing sexual assaults.
In Louisville Their Royal Highnesses will be highlighting the remarkable work of local communities and charities to promote better public health, community cohesion and the preservation of the local culture. They will talk to those working to improve the diets of Louisville's citizens and to improve the air quality. The Prince of Wales will deliver a speech about health and the natural environment to an audience of business, faith and community leaders. They will visit the Kentucky African American Cultural Centre, where they will hear about the importance of Louisville's place in the civil rights movement. The Duchess will visit a food literacy project, where children learn about the links between farming, food, health and the environment.
This is a programme that brings to the fore Their Royal Highnesses' experience and expertise in key areas while at the same time highlighting the strengths of Britain's relationship with America. While the greater part is, of course, in the United States' capital the visit to Louisville will enable them broaden their understanding of the country by seeing a place that is not a standard stop for royal visitors and where they will see first-hand the individuality that is so characteristic of American communities across the nation.