The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with their two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, touched down in Berlin earlier today, after a busy schedule of engagements in Poland over the past few days.
Upon landing in Berlin, 2 year-old Princess Charlotte seemed determined to exit the aircraft by herself and accepted her own bouquet of flowers as the family was greeted at the airport by well-wishers. Charlotte already appears to be mastering the art of diplomacy as she curtseyed and shook the hand of a delegate on the red carpet, and received her first bouquet.
When the Cambridges departed Poland, Prince George was seen anxiously tugging on his father’s hand to get back on the plane. It is well known, that George – who turns 4 this week – is obsessed with anything that flies.
The royal couple’s first stop in Berlin was the Brandenburg Gate, now a symbol of unity for Germany, following the partition of East and West. William and Catherine were welcomed at the Brandenburg Gate by large crowds, who they greeted before having a photo taken in front of the iconic landmark.
The Duke and Duchess were then met by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who asked the Duchess ‘whether she speaks English’.
Catherine replied, “No, no. Sorry!” It is well known that Prince Philip is fluent in German, due to his family links, while William is conversant in French, like The Queen, although certainly not fluent.
William and Kate were scheduled to spend an hour with Mrs Merkel for what Palace aides called an ‘extended discussion’ and lunch. The trio reportedly discussed European and global politics as well as community service projects and charity work over lunch at the chancellor’s office.
National newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung called the family, ‘Her Majesty’s Secret Weapon’ and the German visit a ‘diplomatic mission’ with the enthusiastic backing of the Foreign Office.
The royal couple’s second stop was Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial, where they were shown around by the Director of the memorial, Uwe Neumärker, The Duke and Duchess also met Holocaust survivor Leon Henry Schwarzbaum, who shared his insightful story with them. Yesterday, the Duke and Duchess visited the Stutthof concentration camp in Poland, where William described his and Kate’s visit as “shattering.”
Both William and Catherine looked solemn as they navigated their way between the concrete blocks, memorialising the victims of the Holocaust. The memorial was designed by American architect Peter Eisenman, and officially opened in 2005.
In his notes on the project, Mr Eisenman explained the memorial is designed to create a ‘confusing’ atmosphere. As visitors walk further in to the memorial, the blocks become larger and it becomes darker as you walk down hill, before ‘entering the light’ on the other side.
The Duke and Duchess also toured the underground information centre, which documents Nazi war crimes, and were given a personal tour of the centre, where personal memoirs and family stories are used to recount the tragedy and evil of Hitler’s regime.
Later on, the couple visited Strassenkinder (literally ‘street children’) in the east of Berlin, a charity which supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The couple then returned to the west of the city to meet President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the Bellevue Palace, before enjoying an evening celebration to mark The Queen’s birthday, held in the gardens of the residence of Her Majesty’s ambassador to Berlin.
Tomorrow, the Duke and Duchess take their competitive streak to the water, when they captain crew boats in Heidelberg.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) July 19, 2017