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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on 'historic' tour

16 July 2017 National News


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s latest European tour has been hailed as “historic” and a chance to “accelerate” the UK’s relationships with two important EU countries involved in the Brexit process.

The royal couple begin a trip to Poland and Germany on Monday.

Sky News has spoken to the two key diplomats who will guide the royal couple through their week-long trip; Sir Sebastian Wood, the British ambassador to Germany, and Jonathan Knott, Britain’s man in Poland.

The visit comes as the next round of Brexit negotiations get underway in Brussels.

Speaking in Warsaw at the start of the tour, Jonathan Knott told Sky News: “One of the features as you know of the royal family is that they are apolitical, they are above politics, so this is really about the connection between peoples, between organisations.

“That’s one of the reasons why we’ve made sure that they talk both about Poland’s past, but also that they see some of the potential for collaboration in future.”

Image: The Royal couple attended the Royal Ascot races

When asked if the Royal couple would come across anyone talking about the topics of migration and citizens rights, Mr Knott said: “I wouldn’t say they were off the table but I don’t think that’s the kind of visit that we’re on.

“This isn’t a ministerial visit, this isn’t a prime ministerial visit, but what I think the visit is really going to do is accelerate that process of deepening our relationships and making sure that as we go through the process of leaving the EU our relationship doesn’t weaken – actually it gets stronger.”

On Wednesday the Royal party will head to Germany for three days.

Speaking in the Adlon Hotel in Berlin, in the suite where the Queen stayed during her 2015 visit, Sir Sebastian said: “I think a trip like this is significant whatever the context.

“In a way this is historic, the first time that Prince William comes with his family on an official visit, and it’s the beginning of what I hope will be a long standing relationship between them and Germany.”

David Davis and Michel Barnier

Image: David Davis and Michel Barnier are the chief Brexit negotiators for the UK and EU

On the subject of how important William and Kate are as Brexit ambassadors, he said: “The Royal family are important ambassadors full stop for the UK and when they make a big visit like this it makes a big diplomatic contribution.”

But when asked if people were being told not to mention Brexit he added: “Well the context is what it is, but the focus will be on the future of the relationship between our countries.”

Since the start of the year Europe has been a key focus for tours carried out by members of the Royal family.

All visits are conducted on behalf of the Queen at the request of the Government and the Foreign Office.

On the issues of citizens rights and future trade deals Poland and Germany are two crucial countries involved in the ongoing Brexit negotiations.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte will also fly out with their parents.


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