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British RoyalsHistoryInsight

Why is Kenya so important to the royals?

Photo: Benjamin Wareing

There are hundreds of countries, states and territories which have been visited by members of the Royal Family, but there are few which hold a special and long-lasting place in their hearts.

Kenya is one country which has acted as a polaroid for key royal events for several years and is, therefore, remembered fondly.

The most memorable link between the royals and Kenya is that it is where Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II, following the tragic death of her father King George VI on 6 February 1952.

Whilst this memory may be tainted with personal sadness, it is unforgettably etched into history as the place where a young princess became one of the greatest monarchs of all time. Her Majesty has since re-visited the east-African country on a few occasions.

The royal links do not stop with Queen Elizabeth. Almost sixty years later in 2010, her grandson, Prince William became engaged in the country.

The future Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, otherwise known as Prince William and Catherine, met in 2001 at St Andrew’s University in Scotland. The pair were engaged in October 2010 at the Lewa Conservancy, the same place where Prince William had spent some weeks of his gap year almost a decade before.

Kenya has seen multiple royal visits over the years, such as in January 2020 by the Countess of Wessex who visited in aid of gender equality, preventing sexual violence in conflict and girls’ education.

The country was also revisited by the Duke of Cambridge in 2018 – who is the President for United Wildlife and Patron of Tusk Trust – before talks were held regarding the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference.

Whilst many royals hold links to certain foreign countries for the work they’ve done or what they’ve achieved there, it is rare for one place to bear witness to several auspicious moments in history.

Kenya has seen a princess become a queen, a future king’s engagement and multiple important campaigns take place. Aside from the UK, there are few places on the earth which will go down in the royal history books for what happened there.