Monday, 21 November 2016

Prince Harry in the Caribbean: Day One, Antigua and Barbuda

Prince Harry arrives at Clarence House, Antigua at the start of his Caribbean Tour
(photo Kensington Palace Twitter)

It was like a home from home. Prince Harry started his tour of the Caribbean at Clarence House with constant reminders of home. Harry is carrying out this tour on behalf of his grandmother and as his first engagement got under way in Antigua and Barbuda, he was surrounded by images of the Queen in a house that shares its name with a family residence that was built for a William who would go on to become king. Harry's forward looking tour had plenty of reminders of the past as it got under way.

Harry touched down in Antigua on a scheduled flight on November 20th and his first big engagement of this two week, seven country tour saw him head to a reception hosted by the Governor General, Sir Rodney Williams, at Clarence House.  It might share its name with the pad that Harry's dad calls home but this stone building, recently renovated, was actually built decades before the more famous London version.

This Clarence House was built for a king called William. William Henry, Duke of Clarence, was a famous sailor and this house was built for him on a stay in Antigua during a naval tour in 1787 when he was third in line to the throne with little prospect of ruling. Decades later, when that William was heir to his brother's throne, he commissioned another house in London which was also called Clarence. Today, the Antiguan version is the country residence of the Governor General and Barbuda and it's open for tours when he's not at home.  And Prince Harry got to add his name to the history of the place when he unveiled a plaque marking the renovation works.

This reception was an official introduction for Harry and it also saw him touch on a subject that will be a major factor in the two weeks he's in the Caribbean. The prince will be helping to mark several anniversaries of independence and that all started on evening one as he delivered a message from the Queen, congratulating the people of Antigua and Barbuda on the 35th anniversary of their independence, a milestone marked in 2016.

In the message, Harry passed on the Queen's congratulations 'in building this community and creating so many opportunities for the next generation.'  The Queen also said she had fond memories of her own visits to Antigua, in 1966, 1977 and 1985, and added that it had been a 'great privilege' to watch it develop into the 'confident country it is today with a strong national identity and a positive outlook'.

He also presented a photo of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh - an image filled with history as it was handed over on the couple's 69th wedding anniversary.  Prince Harry is in Antigua and Barbuda for three days, from November 20th until November 22nd. His engagements there will include visiting a sports event and a charities day.
You can keep up to date with Prince Harry's Caribbean tour on the special page here.

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