Sunday, 2 November 2014

Charles and Camilla Visit Cartagena for Day Four in Colombia

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall began day four of their Colombia visit with a trip to the Museum of Zenú Gold in Cartagena on the Caribbean coast of the country, where they were joined by First Lady María Clemencia Rodríguez de Santos and received a musical welcome from locals.

The performance was organised by a music club from the La Boquilla area of the city and featured some lead vocals by 12-year-old John Carlos Gomez who impressed the gathering with an energetic performance.

The musical group also presented the prince and duchess with a drum, which neither could resist trying out immediately.

While Mrs. Rodríguez de Santos spoke with members of the group and couldn't resist a motherly moment with little John Carlos. :)

After the performance, Prince Charles and Camilla viewed the museum's displays, which hold many examples of goldsmithing from Colombia's pre-Hispanic history, when the area was occupied by the Zenú people, who created many gold ornaments to be buried with their dead.

Museo del Oro Zenú Flickr (Creative Commons)

They were also shown how traditional techniques are used to make various local items by artisans, and were presented with a sombrero vueltiao each.

The sombrero vueltiao (turned hat) originates in the culture of the Zenú people and is still made in the region today.

Before leaving, the prince and duchess shook hands and chatted with locals who had come out to see them.

The next engagement was a visit to the Colombian Coast Guard where the couple talked with officers and crew about their efforts against drug smuggling from the country, and how the United Kingdom's National Crime Agency is involved with Colombian authorities in anti-drug smuggling initiatives.

The royal couple also viewed ingenious 'home-made' submarines created by smugglers which were captured by the Colombian Coast Guard.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall also unveiled a plaque commemorating the 8,000 British troops who died during the War of Jenkins' Ear, between 1739 and 1748.

Afterwards, the prince and duchess attended the Colombian Naval Museum with the presidential couple, where Prince Charles gave a speech at a conference on Caribbean sustainability and Colombia's role in the Caribbean. The conference was organised by the Presidential Co-operation Agency and the Prince's International Sustainability Unit.

Beginning his speech in jovial mood and speaking Spanish he said, "Ladies and gentlemen, it's a great pleasure for me to be again in Cartagena, to be present here with all of you here today", before switching back to English abruptly and saying "that's far enough", much to the amusement of the audience.

With attendees relaxed by the Prince of Wales' opening lines he continued:

"We each depend upon Nature's benevolence, whether on land or, as is being discussed today, in the marine world. From what I have seen on this occasion and from all I have come to know about Colombia in the years since my last visit, I have no doubt that your country can play a critical role in the Caribbean, as in the world, in pursuing a much more balanced and environmentally resilient approach. 
"It seems to me that adopting a regional approach, with ever closer co-ordination and collaboration, is also absolutely vital, particularly if you realise that the oceans and seas on which so many depend are, in fact, a shared resource, as is so clearly illustrated here in the Caribbean - which is why I do hope that the conversations started here in Colombia over the last day and a half will continue to bear fruit - or perhaps fish - in pursuit of a shared vision for a sustainable Caribbean ocean economy based on healthy and productive oceans. 
"I must say, I am encouraged to hear of so many good news stories from countries and territories here today from around the Caribbean region, such as here in Colombia with your proposed improvement in your Ocean Health Index; Bermuda's 15-year Sustainable Fisheries Strategy, as well as its granting of safe passage to the humpback whale; and the sustainable management of the Honduran spiny lobster fishery."

From the museum, the royal couple proceeded to HMS Argyll for a sunset ceremony and reception, also attended by Mr Santos and Mrs Rodríguez de Santos. It was a windy and rainy evening, but the weather didn't dampen the mood.

HMS Argyll is a type 23 'Duke' class frigate and the oldest type 23 frigate still serving in the Royal Navy.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall's official visit to Colombia has now come to an end, and I have to say it was, in my opinion, a successful and very interesting visit to a beautiful country, and one which is emerging from five decades of armed conflict. We can only hope now that Colombia continues to make headlines for its efforts to bring peace and prosperity to its citizens and for its positive role in the region.


  1. Prince Charles and Camilla seemed to have indeed enjoyed themselves - and appear to have connected well with the locals. They could play a much more prominent role in all environmental issues and use their clout to bring the world closer to understanding how dependent we are of nature. I think they have a unique position. - but they aren't using it well. Instead of championing a hundred different things, they could choose one that would impact absolutely everyone. Too bad they don't think big picture at all...

    Royal Fan from Canada

    1. Hi Royal Fan,

      Charles has been a proponent of the environment long before it was popular. He was at the forefront of the organic movement way before it became trendy. In fact he took a lot of flack for his views on the environment and our dependence on it, but it seems that people forget that, which is too bad. He has been trying to encourage his son William to be more involved in this arena with limited success.


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