Royal couple arrives in Cayman

Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, and his wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, made a brief visit to Grand Cayman on Sunday before boarding a Cayman Airways Express jet to Little Cayman.

The couple is making a private visit to the Central Caribbean Marine Institute on Little Cayman and is scheduled to return to Grand Cayman to make presentations on Monday.

On their arrival at Owen Roberts International Airport around 10:45 a.m. on Sunday, Prince Edward and Countess Sophie were welcomed by Governor Helen Kilpatrick, Premier Alden McLaughlin, Police Commissioner David Baines and other dignitaries at the steps of the private jet in which they landed. Also on the airport tarmac was a Royal Cayman Islands Police Service guard of honor who gave the couple the official royal salute.

Prince Edward and the countess then walked to the airport’s VIP lounge where they spent a few minutes while their luggage was transferred from their jet to the Little Cayman-bound plane.

Carrie McCoy, a 17-year-old honor roll student from St. Ignatius High School, presented the Countess of Wessex with a bouquet of flowers.

Her mother, Jacklin McCoy, watching from the airport’s viewing gallery above the runway with a handful of other residents and tourists, said she had hoped to meet the prince herself, “but it is my daughter Carrie who is making a presentation to the Countess of Wessex.”

Ms. McCoy said she was very proud of her daughter who was involved in the community as a girl guide and a young leader.

An American couple waiting for an outbound flight to Chicago were excited to find out they were getting an added bonus to the end of their vacation. “Wow. This is exciting, I have never seen the prince before,” said Marny Christin, as she and her husband watched the couple disembark and meet the dignitaries.

Jean Panaligan said she had been told of the royal couple’s arrival by her boyfriend who works at the airport. “This is my first time in Cayman and it’s exciting to see a prince,” she said.

The couple will attend separate luncheons on Grand Cayman on Monday, when Prince Edward will join Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme participants at Government House and the countess will address 100 Women in Hedge Funds at the National Gallery. She will then join her husband for the presentation of the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award to Lashonda Powell at Government House.

They are scheduled to leave the island Monday afternoon.