The British High Commission have announced that the Earl and Countess of Wessex will make a formal state visit to Sri Lanka between the 31st January and the 4th February. The culmination of Their Royal Highnesses visit will be to represent the Her Majesty The Queen at the celebrations to mark the seventieth anniversary of Sri Lankan independence on the 4th.
Their Royal Highnesses are well-known for their interest in youth work, and this has been reflected in the itinerary for the visit. The Earl has taken over responsibility for the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, and on this visit, the couple will meet participants from Sri Lanka who are undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh International Award. They will also meet young Sri Lankans who have been selected to represent the country as Queen’s Young Leaders. This is an initiative to celebrate exceptional young people from all Commonwealth countries, it was started by the Queens Diamond Jubilee Trust and has also received assistance from Comic Relief.
The couple will not only visit the capital Colombo, but other places to see the work that charities which reflect things close to their heart are doing and seeing the projects that seek to improve an empower the lives of those who are differently abled. They will see the valuable work that MENCAFEP has done, assisting both those differently abled also their families. It was started by an Englishman nearly twenty-five years ago in Nuwara Eliya and now covers Trincomalee and Batticaloa Districts also.
This visit will help strengthen ties between the two countries and also the support they give to the Commonwealth, as we look forward to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting being held in London in April. There is a clear ambition of both countries to see the continuing success of the Commonwealth which has in recent years been swelled by countries that were never ruled over by the United Kingdom. It is also a case that the UK will once again be reunited with the Commonwealth as it seeks to withdraw from the European Union.