No bag carriers and a commercial flight: Princess Anne’s no-nonsense royal visit
The Princess Royal has been welcomed to Sri Lanka with a dazzling performance by traditional dancers – and in true Princess Anne style, she took it all in her stride by carrying her own bags off her commercial plane.
The no-nonsense princess was photographed in a warm jacket, trousers and sensible shoes as she thanked SriLankan Airlines staff before walking off the plane carrying two heavy bags.
Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, her husband, followed, also holding a couple of bags, as the couple began an official three-day visit celebrating the UK’s ties with the Commonwealth country.
The Princess is famously businesslike on her tours, as in everyday life, with a packed schedule of events covering as much ground as possible in each day.
She travels with a compact team of staff, known for their organisational skills, and tries to visit as many of her patronages as possible on any overseas visit as well as representing Britain.
The Princess, 73, is now known as the King’s “right-hand woman” thanks to her support for her brother, and her reputation as one of the hardest-working royals in the King’s slimmed-down monarchy.
The trip is the Royal family’s first overseas tour of 2024.
The Princess’s low-key arrival in Sri Lanka will set the tone for a working visit in which she will undertake a busy schedule of engagements to showcase the country.
As the Princess and Sir Tim stepped off the plane onto a red carpet, the airport tarmac was filled with a large group of dancers and musicians performing in traditional dress, with drummers playing a hypnotic beat in the hot and humid conditions.
The Princess is visiting the country at the request of the Foreign Office and will begin a whistle-stop tour to mark the UK’s bilateral relations with the nation, including a meeting later with Ranil Wickremesinghe, the president, and Maithree Wickremesinghe, the First Lady.
Andrew Patrick, the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, was among the dignitaries who formally welcomed the Princess. He later said: “This visit is the best possible way to mark 75 years of diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka.”
The Princess will meet local communities and faith groups in Colombo, Kandy and Jaffna, home to many of the country’s Tamil community, from Wednesday to Friday.
Mr Patrick added: “That’s the aim, to show her as much of the country, as much of the diversity as we can, and we think it’s the first visit by a member of the royal family to Jaffna, certainly in many many years, so that will be historic.”
Shortly after arriving at Bandaranaike International Airport, the Princess went to the MAS Active Factory, one of the largest companies producing sports and leisurewear clothing which has been manufacturing lingerie for Marks & Spencer for 30 years.
She inspected a bra cup while talking to Jehan Jayasuriya, chief marketing officer for MAS Intimates, and was shown the polo shirt made for Novak Djokovic for last year’s Australian Open.
She visited as part of her role as president of the UK Fashion and Textile Association.
The Princess will also visit Sri Lanka’s head office of Save the Children. She has been patron of the charity for more than 50 years.
At the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children, she will see Save The Children’s Social Emotional Learning Tool Kit Programme, Tilli, in action.
This evening, the Princess and Sir Tim will be received by the president and his wife to mark 75 years of diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka.
In 1948, Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, gained its independence after more than a century of British rule.
(Source: The Telegraph)
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