Prince Harry has kicked off a 15-day royal tour to the Caribbean with a visit to Antigua and Barbuda, the first of six stops on his agenda.
The prince, who visits the Commonwealth country on behalf of the Queen, was welcomed by the governor general of Antigua Sir Rodney Williams in a Defence Force military parade, before attending a reception at the newly renovated Clarence House in English Harbour. He also presented the governor general with a photo of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on the 69th anniversary of their wedding.
The fifth to the throne delivered a message by Her Majesty congratulating the island nation on its 35th independence anniversary and recalling fond memories.
The message read, ‘’ Prince Philip and I send our warmest wishes to Antigua and Barbuda on the occasion of this celebration to mark 35 years of Independence. I have fond memories of visiting your country in 1966, 1977 during the Silver Jubilee and again in 1985.
‘’I will never forget the warmth of your people and the incredible natural beauty of the islands. It has been a great privilege for me to watch Antigua and Barbuda develop into the confident country it is today with a strong national identity and a positive outlook.
‘’I congratulate all of you for the part you have played in building this community and creating so many opportunities for the next generation.’’
The prince will spend three days in Antigua and Barbuda, during which he will attend a Youth Sports Festival at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and a Charities Showcase event in the tropical grounds of Government House.
The two-week West Indies tour resumes with visits to Commonwealth realms in Barbados (which HRH visited in 2010), Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines- all of which the Queen is head of state.
The trip aims to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of the region.