Clarence House has announced today that The British Government has asked The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall to visit Europe between 29th March and 6th April 2017. The Tour will begin in Romania – The Prince will visit Bucharest and the surrounding area from 29th-31st March. The Prince and Duchess will then undertake engagements in Italy and the Holy See from 31st March – 5th April and in Vienna from 5th-6th April.
The tour is intended to highlight the cohesion between the United Kingdom and its partners in Europe in the areas of military ties, social cohesion and human trafficking. Further details on the itineraries are yet to be finalised, but these are areas which both the Prince and Duchess have dear to their hearts. Although the Prince has only paid one official visit to Romania, he has made many private visits and is a keen supporter of projects in Romania which are supporting the rural economies. Last June, I reported on his visit to Viscri in Transylvania where he opened the Prince of Wales’s Training Centre in the village which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Prince has visited the other countries many times, however, this will be the Duchess’s first official visit to Austria. The Duchess is a keen supporter of the Emmaus Community which is currently helping fight poverty in many nations across the globe. Those in poverty frequently are at the mercy of human traffickers as they seek to go to what they see as lands of plenty, and sadly one of the places they may end up is as prostitutes. The Duchess has undertaken a great deal of work in rape crisis centres across the United Kingdom seeing what she can do to help.
Whilst there are some who may put a political slant on these visits, it is clear to see that they cover areas key to the hearts of the couple. It is also evident that if you can provide help and training in the more rural areas and keep the local crafts and identity; then people will be less likely to chase false dreams of an idyllic lifestyle elsewhere that can turn into a nightmare at the hands of others.