Charles arrives in St Lucia to begin historic Caribbean tour

The Prince of Wales has arrived in St Lucia for the start of a 12-day tour of the Caribbean featuring an historic visit to Cuba.

Charles was warmly greeted by St Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet when he arrived and also waiting at the steps of RAF Voyager, the British minister jet, was British High Commissioner Steve McCready.

The trip to the island paradise is a brief stop of a few hours for the heir to the throne before he flies on to Barbados where the Duchess of Cornwall is waiting, having flown out ahead of the tour’s start.

Charles and Camilla will also visit St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada and the Cayman Islands, with the highlight the four-day tour of Cuba beginning on March 24 – the first by members of the monarchy.

The prince’s flying visit has given the St Lucians an excuse to extend celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the country’s independence, and an official ceremonial welcome and parade will be staged in the open air later for Charles.

Charles being greeted at Hewanorra International Airport
Charles being greeted at Hewanorra International Airport

With its tropical forests, famous Pitons – towering volcanic plugs that are a World Heritage site – and picturesque towns the island is the archetypal Caribbean destination.

It was fought over many times during the 17th and 18th century before Britain took control of the strategically important island from the French and today its culture still reflects these influences especially in the French creole widely spoken.

The former crown colony of Britain, whose economy has moved from sugar production to tourism and banana growing, is one of the Queen’s realms meaning Charles is not a foreign royal but a prince of St Lucia.