On Wednesday, Princess Anne arrived for a three-day trip in Sri Lanka to celebrate its close relationship with the UK over the nearly 76 years since the country declared independence. She flew a commercial airway and carted her own bags off the plane, but she did still get a royal welcome at the airport in Katunayake. A throng of dancers in traditional costume greeted the princess, who was wearing her trademark Adidas sunglasses, as she arrived with her husband, Sir Tim Laurence.
In her trademark sunglasses and a no-nonsense tan suit, Anne started her day with a visit to a Colombo garment factory owned by MAS Holdings, one of Sri Lanka’s largest employers. During the tour, where she was accompanied by British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Andrew Patrick, she viewed some of the products, including bras and underwear, that the company has made for British department store Marks and Spencer.
Anne is a longtime patron of the charity Save The Children, and 2024 also marks the organization’s 50th year operating in Sri Lanka. After the factory tour, Anne visited the Save the Children country office in the Wellawatte neighborhood of Colombo and spoke with staff. Later, she traveled to a nearby hospital to see one of the charity’s social and emotional learning programs for children in action.
Later on, Anne and Laurence visited President Ranil Wickremesinghe and his wife, Professor Maithree Wickramasinghe, at the President’s House in Colombo, where they were also joined by the nation’s minister of foreign affairs, Ali Sabry. Anne wore a formal outfit complete with elbow-length white gloves, a shawl, and a three-strand pearl necklace, presumably one that used to belong to the late Queen Elizabeth II.
The trip continued on Thursday with an outing to Kandy, a city in central Sri Lanka, to visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, which is the country’s primary Buddhist temple. It was followed by a visit to a public library in Jaffna, a city on the nation’s northern tip. The day continued in nearby Muhamalai with a Halo Trust event, where she met with residents who had resettled in the area after landmines were cleared with the assistance of the charity and its benefactors in the UK. Anne wore her sunglasses and a customary garland of jasmine flowers around her neck as she chatted with the community.
The first two days of the three-day tour saw its royal visitors traverse the large country. Patrick told the visiting press that the High Commission of Sri Lanka hoped to show Anne as much of the country as possible. “That’s the aim, to show her as much of the country, as much of the diversity as we can,” he said. He added that the Thursday visit to the city of Jaffna marked the first time a British royal had visited the area in “many, many years.”
Listen to Vanity Fair’s DYNASTY podcast now.