NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 31 – King Charles III and his wife Queen Camilla who arrived in Kenya last night are set to meet President William Ruto at State House this morning.
Their Majesties will receive a formal ceremonial welcome complete with the military, ahead of talks with the President.
Their Majesties are on a four-day visit to the country where the King is expected to acknowledge “painful aspects” of the UK’s colonial past.
The King and the Queen have an elaborate itinerary in Nairobi and Mombasa in the historic visit aimed at solidifying Kenya-UK relations.
More than 10,000 people were killed and others tortured during the brutal suppression of the Mau Mau uprising in the 1950s, one of the British Empire’s bloodiest insurgencies.
The resistance group remained outlawed and was designated a terrorist organisation by the colonial government and subsequent administrations in independent Kenya which did not overturn the ban.
It was only in 2003 that the law was changed, and members of the Mau Mau were finally recognised as freedom fighters.
The British government has expressed regret and paid the compensation to some of the Mau Mau veterans but remains for the King to publicly apologize and offer more reparations.
Rights groups and survivors have exerted pressure since last week, demanding a public apology and reparations in billions.
The visit comes as Kenya prepares to celebrate 60 years of independence and will spotlight the strong and dynamic partnership between the UK and Kenya.
Their Majesties will meet a diverse range of Kenyans reflecting the strong people to people ties which exist between our two nations, with a particular focus on Kenya’s young people.
They will also spend time with conservationists, environmental activists, artists, entrepreneurs, veterans, the Kenya Wildlife Service, as well as schoolchildren. At the Coast, Her Majesty will spend time with survivors of gender-based violence, while His Majesty will engage with religious leaders who are working with UK-funded programmes to promote community cohesion.
The Royal Visit will also acknowledge the more painful aspects of the United Kingdom and Kenya’s shared history, including during the Emergency period (1952-1960). His Majesty will take time during his visit to meet and listen to Kenyans who experienced or whose loved ones experienced the ills of this period first hand.
Their Majesties will visit a new museum dedicated to telling Kenya’s history through Kenyan voices and will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unkown Warrior, at Uhuru Gardens National Monument & Museum, as well as visiting the Mugumo tree at the site where the Kenyan flag was raised for the first time in December 1963.
British High Commissioner, Neil Wigan, said:
“As Kenya prepares to mark 60 years of independence, I am delighted that Their Majesties have accepted the President’s invitation to make Kenya their first State Visit outside of Europe, and their first in the Commonwealth.
Coming in year of His Majesty’s Coronation, this visit so early in The King’s reign demonstrates the value we place on the thriving and modern UK-Kenya partnership, which brings mutual benefits to our two nations and the wider region.”
During the visit, His Majesty will meet veterans and give his blessing to efforts by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to ensure Kenyans and Africans who supported British efforts in the World Wars are properly commemorated.
Conservation and tackling climate change will be a key theme running through the visit as Their Majesties engage the Kenya Wildlife Service, see how coastal communities are supporting marine conservation and meet inspiring young Kenyan conservationists.
The Royal couple will see first-hand the impact of UK support to entrepreneurs and start-ups through the UK-Kenya Tech Hub and to the creative industries through the British Council. His Majesty will also visit UN Headquarters in Nairobi, where he will meet with top African CEOs involved in the Sustainable Markets Initiative and hear about the vital work of UN Habitat and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
The Royal Visit will mark a pivotal moment in the UK-Kenya partnership, proving once again that our two countries go far when they go together.