Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall to Visit Mexico During Day of the Dead

From charming the Chilean president to making a little girl smile during a visit to a Brazilian orphanage, Prince Harry’s tour of Brazil and Chile in June was an unqualified success.

Now Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are to embark on a Latin American tour of their own, only this time, to Mexico and Colombia.

Prince Charles’ fifth visit to the region famous for tequila, stunning nature and the ancient Aztecs, will begin at the end of October and will last for nine days.

Much of Mexico – and all of Colombia – will be new to Camilla who, despite having privately travelled to the area in the past, has never made an official trip.

The couple’s visit comes at the request of the British Government, following invitations from President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon of Colombia and President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico.

‘The visit will be a major boost to the bilateral relationship between the UK and these two dynamic and influential nations in Latin America,’ a spokeswoman said.

During the tour, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will take part in a series of engagements, many of which touch on matters close to Charles’ heart, among them youth unemployment and the environment.

Trade and investment will also be high on the agenda, as will combating domestic and sexual violence, with Camilla taking a leading role in the latter.

The couple will travel to Colombia first, arriving in Bogotá on the 28th October, and will get an official welcome from President Santos and his wife María Clemencia Rodríguez at Casa de Narino, the following day.

Other engagements in Bogotá will focus on traditional arts and crafts, historical architecture, organic food and wool, trade and investment and a celebration of the British Council’s 75th anniversary.

They will also attend a peace and reconciliation ceremony to remember the victims of Colombia’s armed conflict, which still continues sporadically and has resulted in between 50,000 and 200,000 deaths.

The Duchess will also attend a high-level meeting for charities and government representatives attempting to combat sexual violence – another appalling feature of the conflict.

Charles, meanwhile, will tour Macarena National Park in southern Colombia, before travelling to Cartagena with Camilla, where he is to deliver the concluding speech at the Health Of The Oceans international conference.

Charles and Camilla will end their visit to Colombia with a sunset ceremony on board HMS Argyll, which will be moored in Cartagena.

The Prince, having been a naval officer on his last visit to Colombia in 1974, will take part in this ceremony in his role as the Admiral of the Fleet.

After waving goodbye to Colombia, the couple will travel on to Mexico, beginning with a visit to the town of Real del Monte, which has had close ties with Cornwall for more than 150 years.

Cornish miners arrived there from Falmouth in 1825 to help reinvigorate the Mexican silver mining industry.

But they didn’t only bring mining techniques. As well as industrial skills, the miners brought the Cornish pasty and football with them – both of which remain enormously popular today.

Indeed, so close is the relationship between Real del Monte and Cornwall, it is twinned with the town of Redruth and boasts scores of civic ties.

The couple’s first day in Mexico is also the Day of the Dead, a public holiday when people gather to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and visit their graves.

The festival of Día de los Muertos embodies the greatest expression of both popular Catholicism and the national cuisine. People construct altars in homes and graveyards throughout the country in order to feed the souls of the dead. Church officials recognize two holy days, November 1 (All Saints’ Day), in commemoration of saints and martyrs, and November 2 (All Souls’ Day), in memory of the faithful departed. According to popular belief, the angelitos (deceased children) return on the evening of October 31 and the adults on the following night, although the dates in local celebrations vary all the way from October 28 to November 4. The feast for the dead originated as a form of ancestor worship, and the clergy were long reluctant to incorporate such pagan practices into the liturgical calendar. The festival held particularly strong associations with pre-Hispanic agrarian cults because it coincided with the maize harvest.

Charles and Camilla will join the locals and mark the day by visiting the Cornish cemetery in Real del Monte, which contains the only known British First World War memorial in Mexico.

The memorial, which pays tribute to a Cornish immigrant who died at the Battle of the Somme, will also be the scene of a wreath-laying ceremony in which both Charles and Camilla will pay their respects.

Later, the couple will travel on to Mexico City, where they will receive an official welcome from President Enrique Peña Nieto and his wife Angélica Rivera at the presidential palace.

Other events will include a reception at the historical Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso to announce the Year of the UK in Mexico and the Year of Mexico in the UK in 2015 – a programme designed to promote collaboration in the fields of education, science and innovation, culture, and business.

Later, in Campeche, the Prince and Duchess will visit the Edzna Maya archaeological site, which dates back to 400BC.
During their tour of the site, they will learn about the renaissance of the site and meet some of the workers who have helped to restore the ruins.

On their final stop in Monterrey, the business and industrial centre of northern Mexico, the couple will receive an official welcome by the Governor before undertaking a programme of events that will highlight the regeneration of the area’s historical sites.

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1 Response
  1. JRinPV

    We, the British residentes of Puerto Vallarta, will welcome Prince Charlie to our town. We hope he will enjoy everything we have to offer.
    Both I, and Craig Malton, look forward to your visit :)
    God Save The Queen !