Never let it be said the Cayman Islands is home to lacklustre hosts.
When Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, arrive on Grand Cayman, they will be greeted with all the pomp and ceremony befitting their station, and an official itinerary bursting with the best our islands have to offer.
Unofficially, private groups and business establishments have planned their own parties and celebrations to mark the occasion (and make full use of the public holiday).
And why not? After all, for the next two days, Cayman will have the attention not only of our visiting royal delegation, but of the world.
For our part, with British Overseas Territories such as ours facing increasing threats of intervention and offshore financial centres increasingly under attack, we are glad that Prince Charles will witness first-hand what our islands have to offer and meet the real people influenced by political decisions. As he concludes his Caribbean ‘goodwill tour’, we hope he will bring significant goodwill, and sound information, back to England’s shores.
Officials have meticulously planned a meaningful and illuminating itinerary for the royal couple’s two-day visit; the result is a scheduling masterpiece – incorporating all ages, areas and attractions, not to mention a healthy helping of ribbon cuttings and unveilings. Islanders will have several opportunities to glimpse the royal couple at scheduled public appearances, from their airport arrival through to a farewell reception at Pedro St. James Thursday afternoon.
Ever since the Royal Yacht Britannia brought the first member of the House of Windsor to visit our islands nearly 60 years ago, our islands have always pulled out all the stops for royal visits. It is more than our duty as a British Overseas Territory, it is our honour and pleasure as loyal subjects of the Queen.
It has been 46 years since Prince Charles last visited our islands; today marks the first royal visit since 2016, when Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, last visited Little Cayman and the CCMI Little Cayman Research Centre, of which he is a patron. Little did we know when Meghan Markle spoke at the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit in that same year that she would go on to marry Prince Harry and become Duchess of Sussex. Perhaps we can look forward to a visit from that branch of the Royal Family sometime soon.
People still smile when remembering the day Queen Elizabeth II first visited Cayman – it was Feb. 16, 1983 – and her return visit with Prince Philip in 1994. Many a family photo book and memory box still contain mementos of those remarkable occasions. We expect many more warm memories will be made over the next two days.