The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited St. Kitts and Nevis on Thursday, and though the weather dampened part of the day, it was still an action-packed itinerary.
Prince Charles and Camilla began their visit at the airport, where they were received by the Governor-General of St. Kitts, Sir S. W. Tapley Seaton and took part in an official welcome ceremony.
Prince Charles received a salute from the guard before inspecting them, and then it was off to Basseterre, the city centre.
On their walkabout through Basseterre, they viewed the archway of the Old Treasury Building, which was built in 1894 to house the treasury and other government offices, and the archway used to be the town’s official entrance and exit point.
The Old Treasury Building is the current home of the National Museum and the St. Christopher National Trust. During their walkabout through these historic buildings, Their Royal Highnesses were guided by a local historian named Leonard Stapleton, who gave them an overview of historic St. Kitts.
They also viewed the Berkley Memorial, which was built in 1883 and dedicated to Thomas Berkeley Hardtman Berkeley, a local politician. The memorial contains a clock and a drinking fountain and was designed by a Scottish company called George Smith and Co.
Prince Charles and Camilla marked their visit here by signing a scroll as a string band performed.
Following their walkabout through Basseterre, which saw them meet with the locals who’d gathered – one of whom was overheard by the Daily Mail telling Prince Charles that she’d been waiting “for this for 46 years!” – they hopped onto a boat to travel over to the island of Nevis.
At Charlestown Pier, the Prince and Duchess were introduced to the Deputy Governor-General for Nevis, Hyleeta Liburd and watched masquerades performed by schoolchildren as part of their welcome to the island.
Clarence House notes that masquerades are a combination of European and African influences that feature elements of waltz, jig, wild mas, and quadrille dancing, and is a celebrated art form.
Prince Charles and Camilla posed for photos with the students before heading to Government House for a reception hosted by the Deputy Governor-General.
Camilla then undertook a solo visit to the Hermitage Plantation House with the Deputy Governor-General and the Minister of Health and Gender Affairs, Hazel Brandy Williams.
The Duchess of Cornwall toured the Plantation House with the owners of the building and learned about its history.
The Hermitage Plantation House was built between 1670 and 1740 and may be the oldest house on Nevis.
According to the Plantation House’s official website, “The strength and longevity of the house are due to the uncommonly strong mortise and tenon construction, steep roof pitch design, and extraordinarily durable lignum vitae timber framing,” and the beams were made from Nevis trees that are now extinct.
The main house, which Camilla toured, is “essentially as it was in the days when [Horatio] Nelson and [Alexander] Hamilton resided on the island” and is shaped liked “a cross-aligned on the points of the compass.”
Her Royal Highness also met with Joy Napier, the Representative of the Caribbean and America Region to the Commonwealth Youth Council, and Mariney Newton, the President of the Gingerland Methodist Women’s League and the Methodist Circuit Women’s Commission, and heard from local women who live on Nevis about their lives.
Meanwhile, Prince Charles visited the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, though his visit had to be cut short due to rain. He met with people who’d gathered at the Park and was overheard by the Daily Mail joking with one well-wisher who said he wished he could live forever.
“I rather hope not,” Prince Charles responded.
Prince Charles then met with the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Timothy Harris, at Government House before he and Camilla attended a reception hosted by the Governor-General.
At the reception, which was held to celebrate the ties between the UK and St. Kitts and Nevis, Prince Charles and Camilla met with two of The Queen’s Young Leaders, in addition to politicians and other residents of the islands.
The Prince of Wales announced the creation of The Prince of Wales’s Commonwealth Scholarships in a speech at the reception, to mark both the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth and his own 70th birthday last year.
The scholarships have been developed in partnership with the Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust and will be awarded to students across the Commonwealth who are studying subjects that Prince Charles is passionate about, including sustainability, climate change and the blue economy.
Per Heart, a Cambridge radio station, these scholarships will be offered over three years to PhD and masters students, and 20 will be offered in total.
“We hope that the scholarship recipients will go on to play a crucial role in addressing the many challenges we face and have a tangible impact on global issues of concern,” said Helen Pennant, the director of the Cambridge Trust, in an interview with Heart.
Following the reception, Prince Charles and Camilla bid farewell to St. Kitts and Nevis, departing with a farewell ceremony in which the Governor-General thanked them for their visit, and in which the Prince inspected a final Guard of Honour.
The Caribbean Tour continues on Saturday with a visit to Grenada.