Prince Charles spent the weekend in the Caribbean, visiting Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands and Dominica, to meet communities affected by hurricanes in the area earlier in the year. These visits marked the Prince of Wales’ first official trip to the area, although his youngest son Harry visited the region in 2016.
During his three-day visit, Charles met with people who have been affected by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, as well as representatives from organisations such as the Red Cross who have been helping with the relief effort.
The first stop was in Antigua and Barbuda, where Charles was met by the Prime Minister and the Governor General on Friday. Of the two islands, Barbuda suffered most as a result of the storms in September 2017; many residents of Antigua have opened their homes to many of the Barbudan evacuees.
The Queen’s eldest son visited a shelter in Antigua where locals have been donating clothes, toys and food in an effort to help Barbudan evacuees. The Prince also met some of those who were evacuated from Barbuda in the aftermath of the hurricanes.
At a reception in St John’s, Charles also made a speech, assuring the people of the region that “as you recover and move forward, you can be sure, ladies and gentlemen, that you are not alone. The plight of those who have been through such terrifying devastation and are still enduring such dreadful privation is close to the heart of Her Majesty The Queen and, indeed, to my own.”
On Saturday morning, Charles travelled to Barbuda to see the damage caused by the hurricanes on a firsthand basis. During the visit, the heir to the throne met with aid workers, volunteers and locals who have been helping with the rebuilding efforts on the island.
The Prince of Wales was also shown the destruction inflicted by the Hurricanes on The Holy Trinity School. Prince Harry visited the same school in 2016. pic.twitter.com/6viN5TlV4b
— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) 18 November 2017
Although Barbuda has a population of 1,700, only 100 people now remain. Prince Charles was also taken to visit The Holy Trinity School, which his son also visited last year, to see the destruction caused by the hurricanes.
Prince Charles’ next stop was in the British Virgin Islands. The Prince of Wales paid a visit to the Youth Empowerment Project, which aims to provide young people with practical life skills that can be used by those living in difficult situations. He was accompanied on this visit by Penny Mordaunt, the recently-appointed International Development Secretary.
During his visit to the British Virgin islands, Charles met with volunteers from the British Red Cross, who have been helping with the aid effort in the islands after the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma. Charles also attended a reception at Government House which was held in honour of volunteers, members of the local community and organisations who have been helping to rebuild the region.
.@PennyMordaunt accompanying HRH The Prince of Wales to meet Red Cross volunteers in the British Virgin Islands. #UKaid is helping @BritishRedCross and @bviredcross support people affected by Hurricane Irma. #RoyalvisitBVI pic.twitter.com/1Bn8ZL4sgZ
— DFID (@DFID_UK) 19 November 2017
At the reception, the Prince met Richard Branson, who was at his home on Necker Island when the hurricane struck in September.
On Sunday, the future King carried out more engagements in Antigua, where he visited the museum based in the cultural heritage site at Nelson’s Dockyard. UNESCO recently declared the Dockyard to be a World Heritage site. Charles unveiled a plaque to officially commemorate this achievement. At Antigua’s Clarence House, The Prince of Wales was also shown a plaque which was previously unveiled by his son Harry, when the younger royal visited Antigua in 2016.
The Prince of Wales then ended his visit to the Caribbean with a stop in Dominica to see the aid effort which has followed the destruction. His first engagement of the visit was a meeting with Dominica’s Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, where he was briefed on the island’s recovery from Hurricane Maria.
Charles paid a visit to the village of Pichelin, where 90% of individual homes were either damaged or entirely destroyed as a result of the huge winds.
In Pichelin, Prince Charles went to Bellevue Chopin farm, where he spoke to local farmers and community members to hear how their businesses and lives have been impacted by the hurricane, which hit the region in September.
The Prince of Wales then travelled to Pointe Michel, where he was shown the destructive effects of Hurricane Maria; as a result of the heavy rainfall and flash flooding, a gorge opened up in the town.