King Charles spoke at a state banquet about his family's strong ties to Kenya
King Charles spoke at a state banquet in Kenya on Tuesday as part of his visit with Queen Camilla. The visit marks the monarch's first trip to a Commonwealth country since his accession in September 2022 upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth. In his speech, he recapped some of the memories that his family members have in the African country.
"It was here, in sight of Mount Kenya, that my son, the Prince of Wales, proposed to his wife, now my beloved daughter-in-law," King Charles said, recalling the 2010 engagement.
The news of the upcoming royal wedding was made public a few weeks later, and William and Kate sat down for their first joint interview and spoke about how the proposal came about.
"As every guy out there will know, it takes a certain amount of motivation to get yourself going," Prince William said. "So I was planning it, and then it just felt really right out in Africa. It was beautiful."
Although they met as college students years earlier, the proposal still came as a surprise to Kate.
"It was a total shock when it came," she said during the engagement interview. "There's a true romantic in there."
In Jan. 2020, Prince William spoke again about why he opted to propose in Kenya at a Buckingham Palace reception celebrating the relationship between the U.K. and Africa.
“The African continent holds a very special place in my heart," William said as Kate watched. "It is the place my father took my brother and me shortly after our mother died. And when deciding where best to propose to Catherine, I could think of no more fitting place than Kenya to get down on one knee."
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Prince William and Kate, both 41, got married in April 2011 and welcomed three children: Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5. King Charles, 74, named his son and daughter-in-law the Prince and Princess of Wales one day after he became monarch.
At Tuesday's state banquet, King Charles also recalled Kenya's historic place in history when it came to his mother's accession. Queen Elizabeth was to be a relaxing, wildlife-watching stop in Kenya during what was set to be a long tour while her ailing father, King George VI, rested back home in England. But everything changed on February 6, 1952, when George died in his sleep — making his direct heir and elder daughter the new monarch at age 25.
King Charles said, "It is well known, I think, that my dear mother, the late Queen, had a particular affection for Kenya and the Kenyan people. She arrived here in 1952 a princess but left as Queen. It is extremely moving to read her diary from that visit, in which she wrote that she did not want to miss a moment of Kenya’s extraordinary landscapes. I really cannot thank you enough for the support Kenya gave her through that difficult time."
"Ten years later, my father, the late Duke of Edinburgh, attended the celebrations of Kenya’s independence," Charles continued. "To mark the occasion, her late Majesty wrote to President Jomo Kenyatta to convey her sincere hope that, with God’s guidance, Kenya would prosper and that her people would have peace and contentment in full measure."
"It means a great deal to my wife and myself that, in our coronation year, our first state visit to a Commonwealth country should bring us here to Kenya," King Charles said. "We both take considerable pride in renewing the ties between the United Kingdom and Kenya, a country that has long held such special meaning for my family."
He then said in Swahili, "Today, I don't feel like a visitor."
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