The royal visit of Prince Albert II of Monaco has been postponed and is unlikely to happen this year, government officials have confirmed.

Prince Albert II was scheduled to pay an official visit to the Cayman Islands after accepting Premier Alden McLaughlin’s invitation last September.

The premier, together with a Cayman trade delegation, was in Monaco last year for the Monaco Yacht Show when the impending royal visit was announced. It would have been the prince’s first visit to the Cayman Islands.

Chief Officer in the Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs Eric Bush, in a brief response to queries from the Cayman Compass on the visit, explained that the planned official tour was unlikely to happen before year’s end.

“He had accepted the invitation and we were hoping to host him during the first half of the year. He himself fell ill with COVID in March or April,” he said, adding, “the best we can say is that it didn’t happened as hoped. But we will be reengaging with them once our borders are reopened.”

Details and dates are still being worked out, Bush said.

Cayman’s borders are set to begin a phased re-opening on 1 Oct. All ports of entry have been closed to visitors since March.

During the initial phase of the reopening, Caymanians, permanent residents, work-permit holders, people who own property here and those planning to spend an extended amount of time on the island will be allowed in.

The number of people who can travel here next month is being capped at 800, according to Premier McLaughlin, as he announced the reopening plans earlier this month at a press briefing.

Cayman’s trial phase of its reopening will begin with those arriving from London on a BA flight tomorrow (Thursday, 17 Sept.). Those passengers will have the option to submit to home isolation once they agree to wear an electronic monitoring device; those who do agree to wear the device will have to isolate at a government quarantine facility.

Even with the controlled border reopening, realistically Prince Albert’s visit won’t happen in 2020, Bush said.

“I don’t think so, given the continue spread of COVID-19 around the world,” he said.

He added that Monaco also had cancelled a lot of its annual major events, such as the Grand Prix and the Yacht Show, due to the pandemic.

As of 16 Sept., Monaco, which has a population of around 39,000, had recorded 178 COVID-19 cases.

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