Charles and Camilla Make History in Cuba

Today was one for the royal history books as The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall were the first members of the British Royal Family to step foot on Cuban soil since 1955.

The last time a member of the British Royal Family visited Cuba prior to the 1959 revolution, was in 1955 by The Duke of Windsor, the former King Edward VIII.

TRH’s wrapped up their tour of Barbados earlier in the day attending a service at St. Michael’s Cathedral conducted by the 14th Bishop of the Diocese, Michael Bruce St. John Maxwell, before departing for Cuba.

This past week saw a jam-packed Caribbean tour undertaken by Charles and Camilla with over 50 engagements. But today was a milestone when they arrived in Havana.

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall arrived at Jose Marti International Airport and were greeted by The Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Ana Teresita Gonzalez Fraga.

Charles and Camilla were photographed in at Revolution Square front of the mural Che Guevara, a major figure of the revolution and one time confidant of Fidel Castro.

Following their arrival, Charles and Camilla attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the José Martí Memorial.

The Ceremonial Band of the General Staff of the Revolutionary Armed Forces played the national anthems, after which Prince Charles laid a wreath.

Charles and Camilla then had a short tour of José Martí Museum and signed the visitors’ book.

The visit to Cuba is part of the United Kingdom’s desire to shore up diplomatic and trade ties with the country that was under the rule of dictator Fidel Castro for close to five decades. Castro stepped down in 2008 in favour of his younger brother Raul. Fidel Castro died in 2016.

In November 2018, the President of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canal, had a private meeting with Prince Charles at Clarence House.

Clarence House said the trip to Cuba was organised at the behest of the British government, intended at encouraging “growing bilateral relations” and “cultural links.”

The relationship between the two countries goes back to 1762 during the time of the Seven Years War.

The British arrived in June and captured the country by August. This gave the British an opportunity for new trade routes, but it would be short-lived. Mounting pressure from sugar merchants back home cited a decline in sugar prices which ended negotiations with Spain over colonial territories.

The Seven Years War ended with the 1783 signing of the Peace of Paris which gave Florida to Britain in exchange for Cuba.

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