HRH The Prince of Wales has embarked on a tour of Europe, arriving in Romania yesterday as Article 50 was triggered. Prime Minister Theresa May signed Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on Wednesday, which begins the formal process of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.
On the same day, Prince Charles touched down in Romania; this is the first of many stops on his nine-day tour of Europe. The Prince is due to visit Italy and Austria, as well; HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is expected to join him on Friday.
The Royal Family are carrying out extensive diplomatic trips to the major states of the European Union this year, as the UK prepares to leave the political group, in what is seen as a ‘charm offensive.’ It is believed that the Royal Family can use their so-called ‘soft power’ to ease the tensions caused in Europe by 2016’s Brexit vote. Official visits are often used to strengthen ties and renew bonds with other nations, and the royals are famous for their superb diplomacy.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office states, ”Royal visits play a very important role in the United Kingdom’s bilateral diplomacy. The Royal Family are excellent and experienced ambassadors for the United Kingdom. Whilst every royal visit is unique, each visit is designed to support foreign policy objectives and promote closer ties across a range of areas, for example cultural, economic or political, between the UK and the host country.”
By the end of the year, the Royal Family will have carried out official visits to a large number of the European Union countries, including its most powerful nations: Germany, France, Austria, Poland and Italy. The Prince of Wales’s website says the tour will “highlight the U.K.’s relationship with European partners.”
The Cambridges have already visited France, where they spoke with the French president, and in July they will travel to Germany and Poland. HRH The Duchess of Cambridge will also visit Luxembourg in May.
The royal tours are expected to be a show of great diplomacy following HM The Queen’s visit to Germany in 2015.