LONDON (AP) — King Charles III will travel to Kenya later this month for a state visit full of symbolism: His mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, learned she had become queen while visiting a game preserve in the East African nation in 1952.
The trip, announced Wednesday by Buckingham Palace, will be Charles’ first to a Commonwealth nation since he succeeded his mother last year, underscoring the king’s commitment to an organization that has been central to Britain’s global power and prestige since World War II.
During the Oct. 31-Nov. 3 visit, Charles plans to meet with Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto and to visit Nairobi National Park, where he will have a chance to demonstrate his concern for environmental preservation and fighting climate change.
Britain’s royal family has long ties to Africa. In 1947, the future queen pledged lifelong service to Britain and the Commonwealth on her 21st birthday. Charles himself visited Kenya in 1971, and he attended the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Rwanda in 2022.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 56 independent countries, most of which have historical ties to the United Kingdom and its former empire. Charles became the symbolic head of the organization after the queen died last year, but the honor is not hereditary.