Senior royals set for two-year tour in ‘soft democracy’ blitz to strengthen ties with Commonwealth and rest of world
King and Queen hope ‘soft diplomacy’ will strengthen ties Prince and Princess of Wales raise possibility of traveling with their children King Charles still visits 14 Commonwealth states where he is head of state
Biennial official visits are planned by senior royals to maintain relations with the Commonwealth and the rest of the world.
The King and Queen and the Prince and Princess of Wales hope a display of ‘soft diplomacy’ will preserve relations with countries like Australia that want to go it alone.
The visits raise the prospect of Kate and William taking George, 10, Charlotte, eight, and Louis, five, with them.
Charles has only made one state visit since becoming king – to Germany in March.
As monarch, she has not yet visited any of the 14 Commonwealth states where she is head of state outside the UK.
Biennial official visits are planned by senior royals to maintain relations with the Commonwealth and the rest of the world. Pictured: Baby George on a tour of Australia with his parents, the Prince and Princess of Wales, in 2014
State visit: Queen Elizabeth II with the Duke of Edinburgh during a visit to Kenya in 1952
But last night a palace source said: ‘The state tour business is back.’
Palace insiders have suggested senior royals are frustrated by the government’s perceived slow process for approving visits, which are decided by the Foreign Office and the Royal Visits Committee.
Plans are now underway for the king and queen’s rescheduled visit to France in September – postponed due to riots in March – and next year, the king will visit Samoa when it hosts a Commonwealth heads of government meeting.
The King and Queen will also travel to Kenya later this year, The Mail on Sunday revealed.
Kenya does not recognize the King as head of state but is seen as a major part of the Commonwealth.
William and Kate are widely expected to visit the Commonwealth country of Singapore in the autumn.
Kensington Palace has announced that William will visit New York in September.
Historian Ian Lloyd said: ‘Charles’ tour of Canada and a Wales tour of Australia and New Zealand would capitalize on global interest in the coronation.
They need to do it before interest wanes – and taking the Welles children would also prove to be a PR victory.’
He added: ‘The problem is that the government asks those on tour to use royal soft power to promote the country.
‘Therefore, the monarch’s will must work in concert with the government to maintain relations with the Commonwealth.
‘It was easier in the early days of Elizabeth’s reign when prime ministers like Churchill had a romantic vision of the old empire.’
Elizabeth was once Queen of 31 Commonwealth ‘kingdoms’. Today there are 14 – and referendums are planned that could peel them back even more.
Yesterday Jamaican Premier Andrew Holness said he hoped to sever colonial ties with the Queen’s death but red tape and a ‘long period of public education and consultation’ were prolonging the process.
Antigua and Barbuda may also break away. Prime Minister Gaston Brown told the visiting Earl of Wessex last year that Britain must pay reparations for its ‘atrocities’.
Last week the Australian state of Victoria announced it would no longer host the 2026 Commonwealth Games because they ‘did not represent value for money’.
Sir Vernon Bogdanor, professor of government at King’s College London, said the royal family could enjoy close ties with Commonwealth countries even after leaving the royal realm.
He said: ‘This does not mean severing the relationship. The vast majority of member states are republics.’
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