King Charles and Queen Camilla concluded their four-day visit to Kenya in the pouring rain but will leave with a sunny outlook after having received warm welcomes and cementing the important relationship between the two countries.
The trip at the request of the British government was seen as instrumental in developing the already close relationship between Britain and the Commonwealth country and its lucrative multi million-pound trade partnership and on Friday was deemed a “resounding success.”
The visit served as an opportunity for the King and Queen to meet Kenyans, hold bilateral talks with President Will Ruto and First Lady Rachel Ruto, carry out military engagements and visit the United Nations’ headquarters. The varied and busy schedule, which included visiting Nairobi and Mombasa, time spent at an elephant orphanage and a state dinner, allowed Charles and Camilla to highlight causes close to their hearts.
“Their Royal Highnesses have thoroughly enjoyed the trip. I think it’s fair to say it has been a resounding success,” one aide told Vanity Fair.
With a focus on trade, climate change, young people, sustainability and the military, the royal couple participated in an average of seven engagements a day. The tour’s success will be a relief to palace aides and government officials following mixed responses to previous royal tours to the Caribbean carried out by Prince William and Kate Middleton and Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh.
For Ed Owens, historian and author of After Elizabeth: Can The Monarchy Save Itself?, one particular engagement stood out among the others. “The most important moment came at the state banquet held in the king’s honor when he spoke of his ‘deep regret’ for the ‘abhorrent and unjustifiable acts of violence’ committed by the British authorities in Kenya in response to the Mau Mau insurgency in the 1950s,” he said. “This wasn’t the formal apology some had hoped for. But, then again, everything the king says in these moments is essentially adhering to UK government foreign policy: a formal apology might further demands for reparations from other countries for the injustices of the past and, presently, this isn’t something the British government is willing to countenance.