Prince Charles touches down in Kigali in first ever royal visit to Rwanda ahead of Commonwealth meeting where he will represent the Queen
- Prince Charles has arrived for a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
- He arrived with wife Camilla aboard the ministerial jet RAF voyager this evening
- Arrival comes days after he had privately condemned UK’s Rwanda asylum plan
- Royal faces potentially awkward meeting with Boris Johnson following remarks
Prince Charles became the first member of the Royal Family to set foot on Rwandan soil as he and Camilla touched down in Kigali last night.
Charles is representing the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting for the first time since he was chosen to inherit her position as head of the global ‘family of nations’ in 2018.
But the prince also faces a potentially awkward meeting with Boris Johnson following the revelation earlier this month that he had privately described the Prime Minister’s Rwandan asylum scheme as ‘appalling’.
Clarence House has declined to comment on ‘supposed anonymous private conversations’ except to restate that Charles remains politically neutral and ‘matters of policy are decisions for government’. Meetings are planned toward the end of the week at which the prince and the Prime Minister will be present.
The prince and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived in the Rwandan capital aboard the ministerial jet RAF Voyager.
Charles will hold several meetings to ‘listen and continue to learn’ about the key issues that the countries of the Commonwealth are facing, particularly over climate change, economic development, opportunities for the young and gender equality. Today he will mark Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.
Charles and Camilla pictured stepping off the ministerial jet RAF voyager as they touched down in Kigali, Rwanda, for their visit to the country and to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
Charles met Special Advisor Ambassador Yamina Kritanyi shortly after stepping off the plane this evening
He also spoke with Johnston Busingye, Rwanda Ambassador to the UK, as he was greeted by dignitaries
Ahead of Chogm, Charles hailed the potential of the Commonwealth to make a difference on issues like climate change or providing opportunities for young people.
He said: ‘Taking shared responsibility to solve problems like these means the Commonwealth has the potential to make a profound difference in the lives of its citizens – and, in so doing, to be an unparalleled force for good in our world.’
The future king will carry out a full day of engagements on Wednesday, when he will meet survivors and perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide.
In 1994, hundreds of thousands of members of the Tutsi community were slaughtered in Rwanda by ethnic Hutu extremists.
The issue of genocide and reconciliation is said to be very close to the Charles’ heart and he will visit a village that was targeted.
The trip will be the first royal visit to Rwanda – one of a minority of the world’s nations the Queen has not visited.
Her son has been encouraged by former Rwandan footballer Eric Murangwa to visit a church outside the capital where the remains of tens of thousands of genocide victims are buried.
His arrival comes days after he The Mail revealed that he had privately condemned the UK’s Rwands asylum plan
Mr Murangwa was sheltered from the killings by teammates, and Charles made him an MBE in recognition of his efforts raising awareness of the genocide against the Tutsi. He is the founder of the organisation Football For Hope, Peace And Unity.
In April, Mr Murangwa was invited to watch as the prince planted a tree at Dumfries House in commemoration of the genocide victims.
Chogm will take place in Kigali following its postponement in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid crisis.
Charles last represented the Queen at the event in Sri Lanka in 2013 – a move that was interpreted as preparation for his future role as monarch – and in 2018 he was appointed the monarch’s designated successor as head of the Commonwealth.
The event, which is usually held in a different country every two years, brings together leaders from the 54 Commonwealth nations.