Senior Royals set for two years of tours in ‘soft democrazy’ blitz to shore up ties with the Commonwealth and the rest of the world
- The King and Queen hope show of ‘soft diplomacy’ will bolster relationships
- Raises prospect of Prince and Princess of Wales travelling with their children
- King Charles has yet to visit 14 Commonwealth realms where he is head of state
A two-year blitz of formal visits by senior Royals is planned in a bid to protect ties with the Commonwealth and the rest of the world.
The King and Queen and the Prince and Princess of Wales hope a show of ‘soft diplomacy’ will protect relations with countries such as Australia which want to go it alone.
The tours raise the prospect of Kate and William taking George, 10, Charlotte, eight, and Louis, five, with them.
Charles has made only one state visit – to Germany in March – since becoming King.
As monarch, he has yet to visit any of the 14 Commonwealth realms outside the UK where he is head of state.
A two-year blitz of formal visits by senior Royals is planned in a bid to protect ties with the Commonwealth and the rest of the world. Pictured: Baby George on a visit to Australia with his parents, the Prince and Princess of Wales, in 2014
State visit: Queen Elizabeth II with the Duke of Edinburgh during their 1952 visit to Kenya
But last night a palace source said: ‘State visits are back in business.’
Palace insiders have suggested senior Royals have been frustrated at the Government’s perceived slow process for approving visits, which are decided by the Foreign Office and Royal Visits Committee.
Now plans are under way for a rescheduled visit to France by the King and Queen in September – postponed because of riots in March – and, next year, the King will visit Samoa when it hosts a Commonwealth heads of government meeting.
As The Mail on Sunday has revealed, the King and Queen will also travel to Kenya later this year.
Kenya does not recognise the King as head of state but it 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 William will go to New York in September.
Historian Ian Lloyd said: ‘A visit by Charles to Canada and one by the Waleses to Australia and New Zealand would capitalise on the global interest in the Coronation.
They need to do this soon before that interest wanes – and taking the Waleses’ children would prove to be a PR triumph too.’
He added: ‘The problem is they are asked to undertake tours by the Government who want to utilise the Royal soft power to promote the country.
‘So, the King’s desire to maintain links with the Commonwealth has to work in tandem with the Government.
‘This was easy 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 ‘realms’. Today there are 14 – and referendums are planned which could see more of them peel away.
Yesterday Jamaica’s premier Andrew Holness said he had hoped to cut colonial ties as soon as the Queen died but red tape and ‘a long period of public education and consultation’ were elongating the process.
Antigua and Barbuda could also break away. Prime minister Gaston Browne told the visiting Earl of Wessex last year that Britain must pay reparations for its ‘atrocities’.
Last week the Australian state of Victoria announced that it would no longer host the 2026 Commonwealth Games because they ‘do not represent value for money’.
Sir Vernon Bogdanor, Professor of Government at King’s College, London, said the Royal Family could still enjoy a close relationship with Commonwealth countries after they cease to be realms.
He said: ‘It would not mean breaking ties. The vast majority of member states are republics.’