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“State visits are back in business”

The royals are formulating a two-year travel blitz to try and convince Commonwealth countries to stick with them—and the rest of the world that the royals still matter, the Mail on Sunday reports.

King Charles, Queen Camilla, Prince William, and Kate Middleton hope “soft diplomacy” will do the trick as they smile and wave their ways around the world—with Kate and William mulling the possibility of taking their kids Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis with them. A palace source told the Mail: “State visits are back in business.”

Charles has yet to visit any of the 14 Commonwealth realms outside the UK where he is head of state, the Mail reports, adding he and Camilla are heading to Kenya later this year—a Commonwealth country where Charles is not recognized as head of state.

Kate and William will likely head to Singapore, with William also due in New York City in September. Charles and Camilla will also travel to France—a rescheduled trip after rioting scuppered a springtime sortie.

Historian Ian Lloyd told the Mail: “A visit by Charles to Canada and one by the Waleses to Australia and New Zealand would capitalize on the global interest in the Coronation. They need to do this soon before that interest wanes—and taking the Waleses’ children would prove to be a PR triumph too.”

However, last week, the Australian state of Victoria said the Commonwealth Games “do not represent value for money,” and pulled out of hosting the 2026 event. State premier Daniel Andrews said the projected cost had tripled and was “well and truly too much” for the state to foot the bill for. It was, Andrews said, “all cost and no benefit.”

Of the 56 countries in the Commonwealth, the 14 realms that have King Charles as their monarch include Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

Some countries’ desire to leave the Commonwealth, and fully separate themselves from a monarchy so associated with the legacy of colonialism, has been hastened by Queen Elizabeth’s death. This week, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness confirmed his country’s desire to become a republic, adding there had always been a “strong love and respect” for the queen, and that Kate and William would be always welcome in Jamaica.

Last year, William said on a visit to Jamaica, “I strongly agree with my father, the Prince of Wales, who said in Barbados last year that the appalling atrocity of slavery forever stains our history. I want to express my profound sorrow. Slavery was abhorrent. And it should never have happened.”

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness presents Britain’s Prince William with a bottle of Appleton Estate Ruby during a meeting at his office, on day five of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour of the Caribbean, in Kingston, Jamaica, March 23, 2022.

Jane Barlow/Pool via REUTERS

After his and Kate’s controversial Caribbean tour, William issued a pointed statement, implying that he doesn’t think the Commonwealth is best headed by himself, or any other member of the royal family. “Foreign tours are an opportunity to reflect,” William said. “You learn so much. What is on the minds of Prime Ministers. The hopes and ambitions of school children. The day-to-day challenges faced by families and communities.

“I know that this tour has brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future. In Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas [where moves to jettison links with the monarchy are advancing], that future is for the people to decide upon. But we have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with communities in all three countries, understanding more about the issues that matter most to them. Catherine and I are committed to service. For us that’s not telling people what to do. It is about serving and supporting them in whatever way they think best, by using the platform we are lucky to have.

“It is why tours such as this reaffirm our desire to serve the people of the Commonwealth and to listen to communities around the world. Who the Commonwealth chooses to lead its family in the future isn’t what is on my mind. What matters to us is the potential the Commonwealth family has to create a better future for the people who form it, and our commitment to serve and support as best we can.”

Queen Elizabeth’s name will be “closely protected”

Don’t think of trying to make a quick buck out of Queen Elizabeth’s name. The BBC reports that the Cabinet Office in the U.K. says her name will be “closely protected” when it comes to how buildings, parks, and businesses use it. Permission will only be “sparingly granted” to those seeking to use her name in “dignified and appropriate” ways.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth waits in the Drawing Room before receiving Liz Truss for an audience, where she invited the newly elected leader of the Conservative party to become Prime Minister and form a new government, at Balmoral Castle, Scotland, Britain September 6, 2022.

Jane Barlow/Pool via REUTERS

“The full title of Queen Elizabeth II will continue to be closely protected to preserve the rarity of the honor,” a government spokesperson said.

The use of “Queen Elizabeth II” will “only be granted for applications with strong royal connections.” An official national memorial to Queen Elizabeth II is set to be announced as the anniversary of her death in September draws near.

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George marks 10th birthday with new photo

A new photograph of Prince George was released on Friday to mark his 10th birthday on Saturday. “The Prince and Princess of Wales are pleased to share a new photograph of Prince George ahead of his tenth birthday tomorrow,” a statement from Kensington Palace read.

Britain's Prince George poses in this undated handout picture issued by Kensington Palace ahead of his tenth birthday, in Windsor, Britain, and released on July 21, 2023.

Prince George poses in this undated handout picture issued by Kensington Palace ahead of his tenth birthday, in Windsor, Britain, and released on July 21, 2023.

Millie Pilkington/Kensington Palace/PA Wire/Handout via REUTERS

It was taken in Windsor earlier this month by photographer Millie Pilkington, rather than mom Kate Middleton who has often taken birthday portraits of her kids in past years.

George is pictured sitting on what the Mirror surmised may be the steps of the Duchess of Kent’s Mausoleum in Frogmore Gardens, Windsor, built in 1861 for Queen Victoria’s mother. On Saturday, Charles and Camilla, and Prince Edward and his wife Sophie sent birthday wishes to George via social media.

This week in royal history

A week marking two significant royal weddings: on July 23, 1986, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson married, and on July 29, 1981, Prince Charles married Princess Diana.

Unanswered questions

Can a two-year royal family travel blitz really convince the world to stick with the monarchy—or will such efforts at soft diplomacy backfire?

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