News emerged earlier this week that the Prince of Wales is expected to visit Iran in the coming months. Talks are already underway between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Clarence House and Iranian officials to arrange the upcoming tour, The Sunday Times reports.
Prince Charles, who is said to have a strong interest in Persian history, is reportedly “very keen” to visit Iran and hopes to be able “to use his role as a diplomat to further encourage the relationship and dialogue between the two countries”.
Should the trip go head, it will mark a historic milestone in Anglo-Iranian relationships and represent a significant diplomatic achievement. It is, in fact, over 40 years since the last official royal visit to Iran, carried out in 1975 by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Prior to that, Prince Philip and Princess Anne had represented the Queen at the glittering celebrations for the 2,500 th anniversary of the Persian Empire held in October 1971. Ten years earlier, in March 1961, a royal visit by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had touched Tehran, Isfahan and Persepolis.
Prince Charles himself has travelled to the country in recent years – he visited the Iranian city of Bam in October 2004 after an earthquake had devastated the area the year before. However, officials have noted that particular trip was made not in his capacity as a senior royal figure, but in his role as president of the British Red Cross. This would therefore be the Prince’s first official visit to the country. It is reported that the Prince hopes to meet President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian business leaders, as well as visiting ancient cities such as Isfahan and Shiraz.
Plans for the tour come at a time of renewed global interest towards Iran, following the recent implementing of an international deal that led to the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions on the country. The deal is expected to have far-reaching effects on international trade and commerce, and it is hoped that the Prince’s trip will help capitalize on this and ultimately boost trade and commercial ties between the two countries, as at the same time lead to a warmer relationship between Britain and Iran.