The Earl and Countess of Wessex have wrapped up a five-day visit to Sri Lanka to take part in celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the country’s independence.
Their visit began on 1 February, when the couple touched down and were greeted by the State Minister of Foreign Affairs. The tour, per the Royal Family’s website, was meant to “celebrate the long-standing UK and Sri Lanka relationship, the Commonwealth, education and young people.”
On the first day of their visit, they toured Third Space Global, a British owned company specialising in online teaching. The firm employs Sri Lankans to teach primary school children in the UK. Their Royal Highnesses unveiled a plaque commemorating their visit.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex then visited @3rdSpaceGlobal, a British owned company which employs young Sri Lankans to deliver online 1-2-1 teaching to over 6000 primary school children across the UK. #RoyalVisitSriLanka pic.twitter.com/WXsDQEybpX
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) February 1, 2018
Their visit took them to different parts of Sri Lanka, including Colombo and Kandy.
Yesterday, the Independence Day celebrations took place in the capital city of Colombo, where the couple were honoured guests. The theme of the festivities was “One Nation.”
Earlier in the visit, Prince Edward presented the President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena with a message from The Queen, which read:
“It gives me great pleasure to send to Your Excellency my congratulations on the occasion of the celebration by Sri Lanka of the seventieth anniversary of Independence. The relationship between our two countries has continued to grow over the years, and it is my hope that the connections between our people continue to flourish in the years to come.
“Although I am unable to be with you as you mark this historic moment, I am very pleased that The Earl and Countess of Wessex are able to represent me and to join you in celebrating all that the people of Sri Lanka have achieved in the past 70 years.
“I send my best wishes to the people of Sri Lanka on this occasion.”
The Earl and Countess of Wessex also attended events that dealt with the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, which they are heavily involved in.
On the second day of their visit, they visited the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy and the adjoining church, St. Paul’s Church. Afterwards, they travelled to the boys’ school, Trinity College Kandy, and the Girls High School to talk about education and the students’ futures.
The royal couple then visited the Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya, in Kandy to plant a myrtle tree symbolising Sri Lanka’s independence and unveil a plaque.
They also visited the Sri Lanka Tennis Association in Colombo and laid the foundation stone for the Indoor Tennis Complex, then watched wheelchair tennis matches and unveiled a plaque.
That evening, the couple attended a dinner at the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka’s residence.
On the third day, the Earl and Countess of Wessex visited the Court Lodge Tea Factory in Nuwara Eliya and the Mentally Handicapped Children and Families Educational Project. Sophie next attended an event for female police officers at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo.
TRH spoke with students and their parents and learnt how the project is helping to support children with disabilities reach their full potential. pic.twitter.com/iI7oeCJ6a8
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) February 2, 2018
After a reception at the British High Commissioner’s residence, the couple visited the Sri Lankan President Sirisena to deliver the message from The Queen.
The couple also undertook events for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award and met with young people involved in the awards.
The visit was also intended to emphasise the role of the Commonwealth ahead of the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting in London in April.