Heritage

Prince Charles and Camilla Are the First Royals to Make an Official Visit to Cuba

Before the couple arrived in the country on Sunday, no member of the British royal family had visited the country since it came under communist rule.
IMAGE YAMIL LAGE / GETTY IMAGES
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Before Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, touched down in Cuba on Sunday, no member of the British royal family has stepped foot in Cuba since Fidel Castro established the communist state in 1959.

In February, Clarence House confirmed that the royal couple would travel to Cuba, as a part of a larger tour of the Caribbean, marking the first "official visit" by a member of the royal family to the country. Here are the details on Charles and Camilla's historic trip.


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THE VISIT KICKED OFF ON THE 24TH, WITH THE ROYAL COUPLE LAYING A WREATH AT THE MONUMENT TO JOSÉ MARTÍ.

Martí was a celebrated writer, and a leader in the fight for Cuban independence in the 19th century. Charles and Camilla paid their respects, then received a tour of the museum inside the monument. As they left, Charles told the curator, "I've learned a great deal about Jose Marti," per the Daily Mail. He added that he'd like to spend more time in Cuba, joking, "You might get fed up with us very quickly."


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Charles and Camilla attend the wreath-laying ceremony

THE TRIP WILL GO THROUGH THE 27TH.

The packed few days of engagements range from an official dinner with Cuba's president to a visit to a music studio. All have been arranged to "explore key themes, such as the arts, youth entrepreneurship, heritage restoration, and sustainable agriculture," per the Prince of Wales's website.

THERE ARE SIZABLE POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS FOR THE ROYALS' VISIT.

For decades, the U.K. has followed the U.S.'s lead in its relationship with Cuba, but that may be changing. After President Obama's historic visit to the country, tensions appeared to be easing between the U.S. and Cuba—but under President Trump, that goodwill seems to be evaporating.

Charles and Camilla's trip signals that the U.K. is still open to a friendly relationship with Cuba. Overseas royal trips such as this are planned by the U.K.'s Foreign Office, and generally have the aim of exercising a "soft power" unlike that of politicians.

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Charles and Camilla arrive in Cuba and meet Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ana Teresita Gonzalez

William LeoGrande, a professor of government at American University, told Reuters that the royal trip could "lend legitimacy to the Cuban government and represent an implicit warning to the United States that hostile actions against Cuba may incur a diplomatic cost with important allies."

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"The tour is enabling conversations to take place that wouldn't have happened otherwise," a source told the Daily Mail. "This gives us the opportunity to develop our relationship with Cuba. It is then up to the British government to connect and do business."

This article originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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