These three countries are important and longstanding partners of Britain in a very important region and the visit will promote Britain’s diplomatic, commercial interests.
As you all know, His Royal Highness has been visiting the Near and Middle East for decades and has built up close personal relations with leaders, including Members of Royal Families in each country as has Her Royal Highness in recent years.
While Their Royal Highnesses have had regular contact with the leaders of each country to be visited, they have not paid an official visit to Qatar since 2007, and they have not visited either of the other countries together, His Royal Highness having last visited Jordan in 2004 and Oman the previous year. A visit is long overdue.
You don’t need me to explain the importance of these countries as economic and political partners for Britain. In difficult times for the world economy, and when there is political uncertainty elsewhere in the region, relationships such as these are all the more important. By providing the opportunity to engage with the sovereigns and governments of each country, through the prism of the unique relationship that exists between the Royal Families of each country and that of our own Royal Family, the visit is intended to highlight the importance both to the UK and to the countries to be visited of our bilateral relationship, and to highlight and celebrate and thereby to promote the breadth and depth of our bilateral relationship.
The press release you have before you sets out the main themes for the visit. I’m sure you won’t thank me for reading this out, but if I were to pick out one it would be enterprise. Building a more vibrant enterprise culture to drive economic growth, and in particular to deliver economic opportunities for their young people has been identified as a priority by each of the three governments.
British business is playing an important role in this area, and in each country we shall be featuring what UK companies are already doing and what more can be done. The Prince of Wales, as an entrepreneur himself and as someone who has set up a number of charities whose focus is on promoting entrepreneurship particularly among young people, seems uniquely well-placed to contribute to this end.
For The Duchess, literacy and education which as you know form an important part of her work in the UK, will feature in her solo engagements during the tour. She also takes a keen interest in the role of women in business and wider society, and this features in Her Royal Highnesses’ programme in each country to be visited.