Buckingham Palace has officially announced spring tours for the magnificent seven to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. While fans have enjoyed short foreign visits in recent months (Sophie visited Qatar in January, William took his first visit to the UAE and Catherine just got back from two days in Denmark) the tours will be the first big foreign visits since before the pandemic. Here is the schedule:
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will visit Ireland from 23rd March to 25th March.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will tour the Caribbean with stops in Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas from 19th March to 26th March.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex will visit Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines from 22nd April to 28th April.
The Princess Royal will be in Papua New Guinea from 11th April to the 13th April. There is a chance she will visit Australia afterwards for the 2022 Sydney Royal Easter Show.
And here is where everyone will be in the world over the next two months for conext.
There will be a lot of Royal content in the next eight weeks before official jubilee celebrations in June. Overall, I'm incredibly excited and fans should be too but I do have some thoughts about who they are sending where, why and for how long. Please be aware that all of this is just my personal thoughts, and while I watch the royals closely, I don't have any insider knowledge or anything like that, I'm just highly opinionated.
First up not only in the line of succession but in my thoughts is Charles & Camilla's tour to Ireland (and fair warning, I have a lot of thoughts about this one). My first reaction to their tour announcement was honestly surprise. Given the way the pair of them have traversed the globe in the past, they don't have kids at home like the Cambridge's or Wessex's and the fact they are the senior most royals, I had expected a longer tour from them somewhere outside of Europe.
However, after some reflection I think that this makes the most sense for them and I think the Palace is actually being incredibly smart on two fronts. First off, post-brexit, relations with Ireland are incredibly important to the U.K. given that Northern Ireland and Ireland are the only connected land borders they have. Charles & Camilla have the most experience (apart from the Queen) with the gently diplomacy that the crown in known for and we've seen a concentrated effort on the Monarchy's part since Brexit (at the request of the Government) to maintain and build upon those relations. There have been three visits to Ireland in four years by senior members of the family, indicating they know how vital having a good relationship with their closest neighbor is.
The second front is the palace being cautious, but in an incredibly practical way. While I personally hope and pray that the Queen is around for a long time, the reality is the past two years have been difficult on her both personally and health-wise. She lost her husband of 73 years, had to miss Remembrance Day due to a fall and was unable to spend yet another holiday season with her family due to the pandemic. The fact is that she is nearly ninety-six now, and while the media would like to make everyone think something more serious is going on, the Palace is simply being practical about the situation.
As everyone knows, the Queen was in Kenya when her father died and she became monarch. She and Philip had to return home immediately and I don't think the Palace ever wants to repeat that. I imagine in the next several years, Charles and Camilla will largely stay in Europe and if they go further, it won't be long tours like it has been in the past. Add to this, that Charles and Camilla are approaching their mid-seventies, both have recovered from covid recently and the fact the pandemic is still obviously going on, it makes sense they want to protect the next in line and keep him closer to home.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's tour announcement was expected given that it had leaked earlier that their staff was spotted in the Caribbean. It's not a surprise the Palace is sending arguably their best assets (apart from the Queen) to the Caribbean since the Queen is still Head of State to a lot of island nations there. William and Catherine will no doubt do Her Majesty proud and I think there will be a lot of memorable moments.
However, I think it will be a much more work centered tour for the couple than anything else. Since their last jubilee tour, they have both established major areas of focus and they will want to center that work in order to show the benefits of the Royal Family to local communities. They have the ability to bring a lot of attention to worthy causes and that will be the focus rather than them as a couple or Catherines wardrobe or anything like that.
To me, the biggest indication that this is a work centered visit rather than a PR trip (which, yes, the royals do PR trips don't kid yourself) is the fact the Cambridge kids won't be going with their parents. It is announced in the original release who will be attending so the fact it is just William and Catherine is a huge clue about where their priorities are. The kids are definitely a huge selling point of the monarchy and they always bring great press because what's not to love? However, the kids frankly distract from the work because most people aren't going to pay attention to coral reef restoration if George, Charlotte and Louis are there being adorable. I'm still hopeful we might see the Cambridge kids on tour, perhaps this fall, but given that they will be on holiday from school but will be staying behind indicates that William & Catherine have a plan and a lot of work to be done.
Edward and Sophie's tour won't be until April but they will be focusing on the other areas in the Caribbean where the Queen is Head of State. It makes perfect sense for the palace to send the Earl and Countess of Wessex in after William and Catherine since they are launching a charm offensive in the region. While Princess Anne might be more popular overall than Prince Edward, her popularity isn't necessarily due to her charm so much as her no nonsense work ethic.
Sophie has become a huge asset to the Queen as well through a difficult couple of years and the choice of tour location shows how much the Queen trusts Sophie and Edward to represent her well. It's not a secret that Barbados recently elected their own head of state so sending in some of the most popular members of the Royal Family to other regions in the Caribbean is frankly just good strategy from a governmental standpoint.
Princess Anne is making the longest journey to Papua New Guinea. I think we will see her visit the further regions of the commonwealth in years to come as they try to keep Charles a bit closer to home. With the Princess Royal, it's easy; she is well liked, has decades of experience in diplomacy and representing the crown and she has earned the implicit trust not only of her mother but of the British people to represent them abroad.
Would I love to see Anne mix up her fashion perhaps a bit during this visit? Maybe try some new designers or something outside of her practical work boots and skirt suits? Sure, absolutely. Will she? Probably not.
Anne is dependable and non-fussy which is what people love about her. Though if she showed up in Vivienne Westwood and Jimmy Choo's she would certainly make headlines (I'm obviously joking, I don't really want her to change her style).
Frankly there's not much else to say here. She'll do a wonderful job in her signature Princess Anne fashion and hopefully there will be one or two quick witted remarks from her because the fact she has her father's humour is one of my favorite things about her.
What are your thoughts on the Jubilee tour announcements? Are you as excited as I am?