Prince William and Kate visit Paris 20 years after Diana's death

The second-in-line to the throne and his spouse will meet President Francois Hollande and launch a initiative called Les Voisins.

Published: 16th March 2017 02:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th March 2017 02:30 PM   |  A+A-

Prince William and his wife Kate.(File | AFP)

By AFP

PARIS: Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate will pay an official visit to Paris on Friday and Saturday, months before the 20th anniversary of the death of William's mother Diana in a car crash in the French capital.

The second-in-line to the throne and his spouse will meet President Francois Hollande and launch a initiative called "Les Voisins" (The Neighbours) designed to foster closer relations between the two countries at a time when Britain is set to begin the formal process of leaving the European Union.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will also host a black-tie dinner at the British Embassy and attend a Six Nations rugby match between France and Wales at the national stadium on Saturday. 

It will be the 34-year-old prince's first engagement as patron of the Welsh Rugby Union since taking over the role from his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

The couple will be travelling without their children, three-year-old George and one-year-old Charlotte.

Although no official commemoration is planned during the trip, it will be impossible to escape the poignancy of Diana's eldest son visiting the city where she died on August 31, 1997.

William was just 15 and his brother Harry 12 when their mother and her boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed were killed after the Mercedes in which they were passengers crashed in a tunnel in central Paris as it was being pursued at high speed by press photographers.

Their French chauffeur Henri Paul, who was later found to be over the legal blood alcohol limit, also died.

To mark the 20th anniversary of her death, the princes announced earlier this year they were setting up a committee to raise funds to pay for a statue of Diana, who was known as the Princess of Wales, to be erected in the public gardens of Kensington Palace in London, where she lived.

William to the fore 

The Paris visit is another sign that the princes and their father, heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, are increasingly taking over official duties from the queen, who will turn 91 next month.

William and Kate are also to visit to Germany and Poland in July. 

William has announced he is stepping down as an air ambulance helicopter pilot to focus more on royal business.

The prince has been criticised as "work-shy" by the famously aggressive British tabloids over the number of engagements he performs compared with the queen.

The young royals remain hugely popular in Britain, however, and also have a sizeable French fan base.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp