Prince Charles and his wife Camilla embark on a Caribbean tour on Sunday during which they will become the first British royals to visit Communist-run Cuba, even as the island faces rising hostility from Britain’s closest ally, the United States, Reuters reported.
The royals will kick off their 12-day tour of ten islands with a visit to St Lucia, continuing onwards to Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, and Grenada, according to their private office. Many of the islands are former British colonies and retain Charles’ mother Queen Elizabeth as head of state.
On March 24, the royal couple will land in Havana for a three-day visit at the request of the British government to underscore warming British-Cuban ties, where they will dine with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who replaced Raul Castro last year.
Charles, the heir to the British throne, already met the president last November on his 70th birthday, when Diaz-Canel was visiting London.
“This is an acknowledgement not only of Cuba’s people, but also of the government, and tells the United States we are not that isolated,” said Havana resident Cira Llerena, 70.
The visit forms part of a broader normalization of relations between the communist-run country and Western nations. Over the past five years, Cuba has taken steps towards an opening that has seen a growth in free enterprise, internet connectivity and foreign investment.