To begin the second day of the Royal visit to The Gambia, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall met with His Excellency Mr. Adama Barrow, President of The Gambia, and Her Excellency Mrs. Fatou Bah Barrow, the First Lady.
Their Royal Highnesses attended an Official Welcome Ceremony at the State House, which included a fanfare and a general salute from The Guard of Honour before The President made a welcome address.
Afterwards, The Prince of Wales and The President inspected the Guard of Honour.
Next, The Prince and The Duchess carried out separate engagements, with Her Royal Highness travelling to St Therese’s School to meet students taking part in a Creative Writing Workshop programme.
Her Royal Highness was greeted by pupils and staff before Grade 9 school children from the Tuseme Club performed a piece developed through the Creative Writing Workshop.
The creative writing workshop is an after-school activity run by Blaque Magique, a youth, arts and culture company, with funding support from the British High Commission.
Before departing, The Duchess opened the school’s temporary library by unveiling a plaque.
Her Royal Highness then joined a Commonwealth Big Lunch in the garden of the British High Commissioner’s Residence.
During the event, Her Royal Highness presented a Points of Light Award to Omar Badjie in recognition of exceptional voluntary service. Omar has been a humanitarian volunteer for over 20 years and has advocated to raise awareness around polio, meningitis, HIV/Aids, Ebola and sexually-transmitted diseases.
The Commonwealth Points of Light is a continuation of the Prime Minister’s Points of Light programme, initiated to coincide with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London and now further extended due to its success.
These awards have been made by Her Majesty The Queen, as Head of the Commonwealth, to thank inspirational volunteers across the 53 Commonwealth Nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond.
The Duchess also met guests representing a cross section of Civil Society Organisations before viewing traditional Gambian handicrafts produced by young female entrepreneurs.
The Prince of Wales meanwhile visited the Gambian Armed Forces (G.A.F.) Training School and received a short briefing on the G.A.F.’s work and met three junior soldiers, who have been deployed to Darfur as part of the United Nations Africa Mission in Darfur.
In the school’s lecture theatre, The Prince joined a lesson on International Human Rights and outside, viewed a demonstration of Unarmed Combat and First Aid training.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall then jointly visited the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Fajara, which contains 203 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.
His Royal Highness laid a wreath at the Cross of Sacrifice before Their Royal Highnesses and guests observed a one minute silence. The Prince and The Duchess met a number of veterans and viewed graves before signing the Book of Remembrance.
Next, The Prince of Wales joined a Roundtable Discussion on Ecotourism at Ngala Lodge Hotel and took part in a discussion around what The Gambia is already doing on responsible business.
In the evening, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall attended a State Dinner which celebrated the strength of both U.K.-Gambia and Commonwealth ties. Around 200 guests attended, representing Government, business, the international community, civil society, religious leaders and British nationals.
During a toast, The Prince said:
It has given us both particular pleasure to be able to celebrate the strength of the ties between our two countries and the many areas in which we work together closely in our shared interest. We have also been fortunate to meet so many people who are making a profound difference to this partnership, whether British or Gambian or, indeed, one of the countless people who have a home in both countries and are, in so many ways, a living bridge between us.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall tonight arrived in The Gambia for the start of the Royal visit to West Africa.
Their Royal Highnesses arrived in Banjul this evening and were greeted by Her Excellency Ms. Sharon Wardle, British High Commissioner to The Gambia, and His Excellency Mr. Adama Barrow, The President of The Republic of Gambia.
Two young Gambians presented The Prince and The Duchess with a Kalabash containing kola nuts – the fruit of the kola tree that is native to the tropical rainforests of Africa. The gift of kola nuts signifies honour at any ceremony.
At the welcome ceremony, the UK and Gambian National Anthems were played before Their Royal Highnesses viewed a traditional display of Gambian music and dance.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall then travelled to the Coco Ocean Hotel, where the Royal couple saw performances by a Kora ensemble, a traditional West African 21-string lute-bridge-harp, a cultural dance and acrobatic display in the tradition of the Kayorn Kalorn, Banjul, Kabakel and Fula Juboo tribes.
To end the evening, Their Royal Highnesses joined a reception alongside Chevening alumni, Commonwealth association members, including Gambian Commonwealth sportsmen and women and High Commission staff.
During a speech, The Prince said:
Our visit is an opportunity to celebrate the bonds of friendship between the United Kingdom and The Gambia, the myriad connections between our people and the many areas in which our two countries co-operate. We are friends and partners and, once again, we are both members of the Commonwealth family of nations – a fact which gives me as much pleasure and pride as I know it does to so many of you.
To keep up to date with the Royal visit to West Africa, follow #RoyalVisitTheGambia, #RoyalVisitGhana and #RoyalVisitNigeria.