Prince Charles surveyed some of the destruction caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Source: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
There’s no rest for the first in line to the British throne; just a few days after returning from an 11-day trip to Southeast Asia and India, taking over some of the Queen’s duties for Remembrance Day, and celebrating his 69th birthday, Prince Charles was off on another royal tour.
This time, he was visiting areas affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which devastated many as they swept through during the month of September.
“The Prince of Wales will make his first official visit to Antigua and Barbuda, The British Virgin Island and Dominica to see how the islands are recovering following the devastating hurricanes which hit them earlier this year. Prince Harry visited the Caribbean in 2016 and HM The Queen made an official visit to the region in 1977 during her Silver Jubilee,” the Clarence House Instagram captioned a black-and-white picture of the Queen during her visit 40 years ago.
Clarence House is the official Instagram account for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
The archive photo of the Queen was soon followed by a picture of Prince Charles as he began his royal visit.
“The Prince of Wales arrived in Antigua and Barbuda today. HRH’s visit comes following the widespread devastation in the region caused by Hurricanes #Irma and #Maria in September 2017.
“One of The Prince’s first visits was to a shelter which had been set up for Barbudan evacuees. People have been donating clothes, toys and food to try and help and make a difference. Many Antiguans have helped the neighbouring islanders by opening their homes to Barbudan evacuees,” the caption reads.
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The photo shows Prince Charles smiling and laughing as he greets some of the evacuees, who all look in good spirits. The younger children, however, are far less impressed by the royal figure standing over them than with the activities laid out for them on the table.
Prince Charles also gave a speech at a welcome reception at Government House in Antigua, and assured them that the Queen had their best interests at heart. A portion of the speech was also uploaded to the Clarence House Instagram account.
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“As you recover and move forward, you can be sure, Ladies and Gentlemen, that you are not alone,” [sic] the speech reads. “The plight of those who have been through such terrifying devastation and are still enduring such dreadful privation is close to the heart of Her Majesty The Queen and, indeed, to my own.
“It is so important to all of us in the Commonwealth that the future of this special region is both prosperous and secure; and that the remarkable strength of spirit for which the Caribbean is renowned, continues to thrive and to offer an example to us all.”
The Prince of Wales braved the dreary weather to meet other locals and survey the devastation caused by the hurricanes. Despite keeping a cheery expression while talking to people, he looked at a loss for words when faced with some of the buildings that had been torn apart by the force of the destructive weather event.
Charles also met with English business magnate Sir Richard Branson, who owns Necker Island, a 74-acre private residence in the British Virgin Islands.
The 67-year-old head of the Virgin brand smiled and shook the prince’s hand, chatting with him for a few moments indoors, but didn’t seem keen to dress up for the royal visit. Branson donned his usual untucked dress shirt with an open neck for the occasion.
Branson waited out the storm in the well-built buildings on Necker Island when Hurricane Irma hit, and encouraged British Virgin Islanders to be “as prepared as possible”.
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“In the past, many British Virgin Islanders have shrugged off hurricanes, stayed at home and not gone to shelters. This time the BVI Government and the BVI Tourist board have been very active and providing advice to the local population. With the likelihood of a Category 5 hurricane, it is really important people go to hurricane shelters if possible,” he said.