Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Charles and Camilla in Mexico

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall began their tour of Mexico on Sunday with a visit to Real del Monte in the state of Hidalgo, which coincided with the Day of the Dead festival, when the dead are remembered by family and friends.

The mining town's history is linked to Cornwall's, as 350 Cornish miners worked in the mines of Real del Monte between the years 1824 and 1848, where English mining technology rejuvenated the silver mining economy. The prince and duchess visited the British graveyard where many of the miners are buried.

Afterwards, the royal couple visited the Pasty Museum in the town, where they learned to make the Mexican version of the Cornish pasty, which was introduced to the region by the Cornish miners working in the area.

The prince and duchess broke ground on the new football pitch belonging to the local secondary school and were presented with personalised football shirts by the local club. According to tradition, football was also introduced to the area by the Cornish miners and the first football match in Mexico was played near the town. The country's first football team was established there in 1901.

On Monday, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall undertook solo engagements.

The prince of Wales visited some chinampas outside Mexico City, sometimes referred to as 'floating gardens', which are a form of agriculture developed in the Valley of Mexico during the Mesoamerican period. The shallow lakes allowed crops to be grown on beds surrounded by water giving them their 'floating' name and appearance.

And then visited the Dolores Olmedo Museum where he learned to cook Mexican food with renowned chef Enrique Olvera and viewed the Day of the Dead exhibition.

The Duchess of Cornwall said she was "humbled and moved" by the stories told to her by under-age victims of sex trafficking whom she met at The Road Home, a shelter dedicated to rescuing girls from the sex trade.

The girls are provided with the means and support to get their lives back on track after horrific experiences, many of which included forced drug abuse and physical and sexual abuse.

The royal couple reunited for their official welcome to Mexico by President Enrique Peña Nieto and his wife Angélica Rivera at the National Palace in Mexico City.

During a speech at the National Palace, launching the cultural cooperation initiative '2015: The Year of Mexico in the UK and the UK in Mexico', Prince Charles told the president and audience members it is a "great pleasure to be able to return to your country" and said "it was particularly special for us both to pay tribute to those intrepid Cornish miners who came to Mexico in the early 19th century and to meet their descendants."

The prince also added: "Today, the ties that bind the British and Mexican people are stronger than ever. Whether in business, government, education, science, sport, culture, trade, in fighting international crime, promoting human rights, or protecting the urban and natural environment, I am struck by the fascination that we hold for each other's cultures – and by the energy and goodwill that are generated when we work together."

Finishing his speech, Prince Charles stated his wish for closer cooperation between the two countries saying:

"In the forthcoming year, our two countries aim to generate a still greater appreciation of what each has to offer the other and, in doing so, foster a momentum that will sustain an even closer, more dynamic partnership for years to come. My wife and I hope that our visit to Mexico this week will help to launch this process. And we are very much looking forward, Mr President, to your own State Visit to the United Kingdom next year. 
Indeed, 2015 will provide a feast (or perhaps I should say a fiesta?) of activities that celebrate our relationship, whether in the arts, business, education, science or innovation. Mr. President, the cooperation between the United Kingdom and Mexico is of the greatest importance. Together, I know we will build a legacy that will last well beyond 2015, into the centuries to come."

On Monday evening, the royal couple visited former Jesuit school San Ildefonso College, now a cultural museum in Mexico City where a '2015: The Year of Mexico in the UK and the UK in Mexico' reception was held, and the prince and duchess both signed the visitor's book before six of Southampton University's remote MA and PhD English students were awarded certificates for outstanding achievement.

The prince and duchess also viewed an art exhibition featuring work by Michael Landy, one of the Young British Artists.

And were shown a British-designed bus which will be part of the Mexico City public transport system in 2015.

Tuesday started with the Prince of Wales in especially good mood on a visit to the south-eastern state of Campeche. Unfortunately, the Duchess of Cornwall was unwell and forced to miss the day's events. The trip began with a visit to the Mayan ruins at Edzná, where the imposing structure of the ancient temple rises over 40 metres above the landscape.

Prince Charles was guided around the site by archaeologists who are working to preserve and restore this fascinating monument of the Mayan period. and showed impressive stamina by climbing the many steps to the top.

From Edzná, Charles travelled to San Francisco de Campeche the state capital on the northern coast. There, the Prince of Wales joined clog dancers for a display in the city's main square, much to everyone's delight. The performance was organised with the Women's Justice Centre in the city.

After the dancing display, the couple met with women and children who have been granted refuge at the centre and posed with them in their traditional dancing costumes.

And one child presented the Prince of Wales with a special portrait he made of the Duchess of Cambridge. :)

The Mexico visit is proving to be as interesting as the tour of Colombia and again it is lovely to see a country so often in the news for negative reasons given a chance to shine under the international media's spotlight.


  1. Marci from Salt Lake5 November 2014 at 05:16

    The floating gardens are fascinating, as are those Mayan pyramids. The work Charles and Camilla have done on this latest tour seems to be admirable, especially Camilla's highlighting The Road Home. I had to chuckle at the picture of Charles being presented with a portrait of Catherine as it seems to be his fate to be seen as an appendage to the women in his life with real star power--his mother, his late ex-wife, and now his daughter-in-law. Sigh. Carry on, Charles.

    1. Thanks for the chuckle Marci!! I do feel for Charles, these women are tough acts to follow.

    2. That is so true! good observation! I would almost add Camilla these days to your list - as she is getting a much more powerful profile, doing more engagements on her own and in fact becoming a more prominent personality that the future king! Hmmm... and to think that he was born to such fate as to be the future king of England.... but still constantly be in the shadows. What a real-life story that likely few people could have imagined happening!

  2. Charlotte,
    When their trip is done, can you do a post reviewing all of Camilla's outfits?

    1. I second that! Please do, Charlotte - lots of very interesting and age/event-appropriate outfits (maybe Carole Middleton's style is rubbing off?)

  3. Hi Charlotte,

    You are doing a much better job covering this tour than any of the UK papers!! And the pictures you show are just wonderful. Thanks so much for all of your hard work.

    Poor Mexico is once again in the news for all the wrong, horrible reasons, the killing of 43 students allegedly ordered by a mayor's wife. Grisly business. So, in this light it is wonderful to see all the positive things that are happening in Mexico, things that we never would have heard about if the royal couple weren't on this tour.

    Looking at these pictures I am struck by what a dapper dresser Charles is. And Camilla is looking pretty good as well. She selects styles that work for her but reworks them with interesting colors and fabrics so it always looks new and fresh.

  4. FYI Charlotte - The card was made for The Duchess of Cornwall, who was supposed to visit the centre but missed all of Tuesday's engagements with a sinus infection (per CH's Instagram).

  5. Hello Sarah,

    The press at the time said it was a portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge and I tend to agree with them. I think there must be some confusion between this and another photo. Happens a lot unfortunately.

    Thank you for your comment.


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