King Charles set to visit Kenya – where his mother became Queen

King Charles is set for an emotional visit to Kenya – where his mother became Queen – in a bid to put the Commonwealth at the centre of his reign… and a trip to Israel is on the cards too

  • His mother became Queen in February 1952 after the death of King George VI
  • King Charles is expected to go to east Africa before he rearranges France visit

King Charles is planning to embark on an emotional visit to Kenya later this year, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

In an apparent drive to put the Commonwealth at the heart of his reign, he is expected to go to east Africa before he even rearranges a visit to France that was abandoned in March over security fears.

The trip is certain to evoke memories of his mother, as it was where she became Queen, aged 25, after the death of her father, King George VI, in February 1952.

An insider said: ‘It will be a poignant moment. Inevitably it will be a reminder of his young mother at the start of her reign. Now, he is at the start of his, but he has the advantage of experience, too.

‘It will also be an important marker for his reign that will underline how importantly he views the Commonwealth.

Pictured: Charles with local guides and military escort as he takes part in a four day safari through the Ngare Valley in Kenya in February 1971

‘His Majesty wants to bring people together. He knows the relationship will change between the Royal Family and the realms and other Commonwealth countries, but is keen to preserve and protect the common values.’

The first official visit of his reign was abandoned by the French government amid widespread rioting in response to Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise the pension age.

In the end, the King and Queen Camilla were only able to complete the second leg of their itinerary, which was a trip to Germany.

Aides are now looking into the logistics for the King to follow in his late mother’s footsteps.

A source said: ‘The plans are being put in place for the King to go to Kenya later this year. He wants to visit the Commonwealth.’

Pictured: Elizabeth walks ahead of the Govenor of Kenya Sir Philip Mitchell at a garden party at Government House, Nairobi in February 1952

The east African nation holds a unique place in Royal history as the then Princess Elizabeth was on an official visit there with Prince Philip when she heard that her father had died in the early hours of February 6, 1952, and she had ascended the throne.

The Royal couple had landed in Nairobi less than a week before to start a world tour on behalf of the ailing King. Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited Sagana Lodge, a bungalow given as a wedding present by Kenya’s government.

They then went on to the Treetops hotel in Aberdare National Park. The late monarch entered a treehouse among the branches of a giant mgumu fig tree as a Princess and came down a Queen.

The hotel was later destroyed by the Mau Mau and rebuilt. The area holds memories for the King, who has visited Kenya four times.

Nearby is the Prince Charles Campsite, a forest clearing where Charles grew his first beard while on safari during a visit with his sister, Princess Anne. Other trips followed in 1977, 1978 and 1987.

The first official visit of King Charles’ reign was abandoned by the French government amid widespread rioting in response to Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise the pension age (File photo)

The first visit to a Commonwealth country as King, however, will be an important step in his reign.

Although it is not one of the 15 realms that recognises him as its head of state, it is nevertheless an influential member. A source said shoring up the connections between the ‘family of countries’ supported by his late mother will be one of the chief concerns of his reign.

Last June, he represented the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda. He told them: ‘We meet and talk as equals. Each member’s Constitutional arrangement as Republic or Monarchy is purely a matter for each member country to decide.’

Next year he will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Samoa, and visit Australia and New Zealand.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment on future foreign visits.

…and trip to Israel is on cards too 

From Melanie Swan in TEL AVIV

The King has signalled his desire to visit Israel, it has been suggested.

Conservative peer Lord Polak said early preparations were under way for Charles to become the first British sovereign to visit the country, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

Lord Polak, who was director of Conservative Friends of Israel for more than 25 years, said: ‘There is no doubt that Charles will be the one to break this pattern. The preparation has been done by his team to pave the way for this visit.’

Charles is also likely to visit Palestine to avoid causing controversy. He travelled to Israel in a private capacity three times before he took the throne. It was feared if the late Queen visited the country it would upset the Arab world. Prince William made an official trip to Israel and Palestine in 2018.

Israel’s President, Isaac Herzog, a friend of Charles, was said to have been personally involved in lobbying the King to visit. Sources said he told Charles he was waiting to welcome him to Israel but the threat of a repeat of recent rocket attacks from Gaza were a ‘stumbling block’ for setting a date.

Lord Polak said it was a matter of regret that the late Queen never visited the country.

A diplomatic source said Charles had ‘made it clear in recent years that he is not afraid to go to Israel and will not allow being the monarch prevent him from returning in that role’.

Source: Read Full Article