The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, are expected in Accra today on a five-day visit.
During the visit, their Royal Highnesses will celebrate the close relationship between the United Kingdom (UK) and Ghana, the importance of their Commonwealth ties and shared values.
The visit, which is part of a West Africa tour, will be the Prince of Wales’ and The Duchess of Cornwall’s first visit to the Commonwealth since Commonwealth Heads of Government unanimously decided the Prince should succeed Her Majesty The Queen as the future Head of the Commonwealth, during the Commonwealth Summit held in London in April this year.
The summit was the largest of its kind in British history, with leaders agreeing a range of actions to build a reformed and revitalised Commonwealth that was fairer, more sustainable, prosperous and secure.
A statement issued by the British High Commission in Accra said on arrival in Accra, their Royal Highnesses would be welcomed at the Jubilee House by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo.
It said they would attend a State Banquet organised by the Presidency in their honour celebrating the ties between the UK and Ghana, attended by senior dignitaries, a number of British, Ghanaians as well as prominent figures from business, arts, culture and the media.
“The Prince will also attend a meeting with Ghanaian and International business leaders to discuss sustainable practice in Ghana’s cocoa industry and key environmental issues. “His Royal Highness will visit the Christianborg Castle, once Danish, and then British, slave fort, which was -until a few years ago, the seat of Ghana’s Government after independence, to discuss the future restoration and reuse of the area, as part of a major redevelopment of Accra’s waterfront, conceived by the Ghanaian Government with the Architect Sir David Adjaye,” it said.
The statement said as part of activities today, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Iain Walker, will host a special reception to celebrate the visit to Ghana and to mark Prince Charles’ 70th birthday, ahead of the official celebrations in the UK on November 14.
“Among those attending will be several specially invited guests who share the same birthday as His Royal Highness. They will be joined by members of the British-Ghanaian Diaspora, members of the UK community in Ghana, and Ghanaians — from all walks of life — who share a close connection with the UK.”
Prince Charles would share his reflections on the Commonwealth at a forum at the Accra International Conference Centre.
It said President Akufo-Addo, representatives from Commonwealth organisations and a cross section of Ghana’s youth who represent the future of the Commonwealth would attend the forum.
“The visit will highlight a number of important commitments made by the Commonwealth Heads of Government during the Commonwealth Summit,” it said.
The statement said Prince Charles would also bring together global partners at a Plastics Round-table to discuss implementation of the Commonwealth Blue Charter and their collective responsibility to tackle marine plastic pollution.
It said he would see the work of local artists who were turning plastic waste into art to raise awareness of plastic pollution.
It said the Duchess of Cornwall would also be joined by Ghana’s First Lady, Mrs Akufo-Addo, to launch the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, the world’s oldest international schools’ writing competition at another event.
“Commonwealth youth under the age of 18 are invited to express their hopes for the future, opinions of the present and thoughts on the past. This is the first time this competition, an important platform for the voices of young people, will be launched outside the UK.
This event will be one of the first of Her Royal Highness’ activities in her new role as Royal Commonwealth Society’s Vice Patron, which was announced earlier this year,” it added.
The statement said the Duchess of Cornwall would also host the Commonwealth Big Lunch, a festive gathering that will bring together children from schools across Accra to celebrate the shared values of the Commonwealth and to promote Ghana’s rich cultural diversity and community spirit.
It said their Royal Highnesses would also host an event to recognise the sacrifices that had been made by the UK, Ghana and other Commonwealth nations to create a more secure world.
“They will lay wreaths at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, to acknowledge the sacrifice made by Ghanaian and British soldiers during the First and Second World Wars, and in more recent times during international peacekeeping missions.”
“They will be joined by the President, the First Lady and His Royal Highness, the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward. As the Centenary of the Great War approaches, their Royal Highnesses will reflect on the Commonwealth’s ongoing efforts to respond to today’s global security challenges.
The statement quoted Mr Walker, as saying on the visit that: “The Royal Visit comes at an exciting time for both the UK and Ghana.
In the six months since the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the Commonwealth has been working together to drive forward our commitments to build a Commonwealth that is fairer, more sustainable, prosperous and secure.”
“Their Royal Highnesses’ visit is a moment to celebrate the warm, enduring relationship and our shared ambition for the Commonwealth.”
Last official visit
The Prince of Wales’ last official visit to Ghana was in March 1977 but it will be the Duchess of Cornwall’s first visit to Ghana.
During his last visit, Prince Charles attended the Golden Jubilee of Achimota School, formerly The Prince of Wales College, and a durbar in Kumasi.
He has been an active supporter of the Commonwealth for over 40 years and shows his support to the Commonwealth through official visits, military links, charitable activities and other special events.
The Queen’s visit to Ghana
It would be recalled that in 1961, the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, paid a royal visit to Ghana.
Undoubtedly the world’s most powerful woman at the time, the young Queen’s visit was four years after Ghana had gained independence from her country.
The visit witnessed parades and festivals in her honour with kings, queenmothers, princes and a host of other nobles present to pay homage to the ruler of the Commonwealth.
Her visit was preceded by lengthy deliberations.
The Queen told the Prime Minister of the country at the time, Harold Macmillan, “I am not a film star, but I am the head of the Commonwealth and I am paid to face any risks that may be involved.”
“Nor do I say this lightly. Do not forget that I have three children.” Thus Queen Elizabeth II agreed with Macmillan the previous week when he conveyed to her his Cabinet’s advice that she should carry out her royal visit to Ghana, despite a spate of bombing incidents in Accra protesting the rule of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.