Harry set to begin major tour of the Caribbean


Prince Harry is due to arrive in Antigua and Barbuda for a major tour of the Caribbean that will see him celebrate the region's history, achievements and culture.

Harry will spend 15 days travelling around the island nations on behalf of the Queen and is said to be greatly looking forward to the trip.

His travels will take him to six countries where the Queen is head of state - Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines - and the Commonwealth nation of Guyana.

The trip has been overshadowed in recent weeks by the news Harry is dating American actress Meghan Markle who is believed to have stayed with the prince at his Kensington Palace home earlier this month.

During his tour Harry will mark the 50th anniversary of independence for Barbados, celebrate the same historic milestone in Guyana and the 35th anniversary of independence for Antigua and Barbuda.

Rihanna will headline a concert extravaganza marking Barbados's anniversary and Harry is likely to meet the global superstar and the other performers when the event is held on the country's independence day, November 30.

For part of the trip Harry will travel and stay on a Royal Fleet Auxiliary Wave Knight vessel already in the region on counter-narcotics duty and on stand-by for disaster relief.

He will spend six nights on the ship, which has a permanent crew of around 90 and is also a tanker used to refuel other Royal Navy vessels. A similar ship was used to accommodate the Countess of Wessex when she toured the Caribbean in 2012.

An entourage of 10 will join the prince during his trip and some will stay on the RFA Wave Knight for periods.

Highlights of the trip will see Harry joining cricket legend Sir Viv Richards at a sporting event in his home country of Antigua and in Guyana he will visit the impressive Kaieteur Falls.

Outlining some of the themes of the tour, the prince's communications secretary Jason Knauf said: "Prince Harry will experience first-hand the importance placed on protecting the environment and conservation; including vital turtle conservation projects on the white sands of Nevis, and the replanting of the coral reefs in the seas that surround Grenada.

''His Royal Highness will see how projects across the Caribbean encourage and support young people to thrive, particularly through sport, but also through social projects and the military.

''In addition to this, on Her Majesty's behalf, Prince Harry will unveil a number of dedications to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy, a global forestry project which invites Commonwealth countries to dedicate indigenous forests to be preserved in perpetuity for future generations.''

Harry will arrive later today, on a commercial flight that will land at VC Bird International Airport, and be greeted by the sights and sounds of a local band providing the soundtrack for an Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force military parade.

After formally inspecting a guard of honour he will attend a reception hosted by the Governor General Sir Rodney Williams, featuring cultural performances.