Prince William and his wife Kate arrived in Warsaw on Monday on a five-day “diplomacy tour” of Poland and Germany in the wake of Brexit, which has tarnished Britain’s reputation in Europe.
After the royal couple’s plane landed under grey skies, their children George and Charlotte pressed their faces against a window and looked out as airport staff rolled out the red carpet.
The visit is not officially tied to British-EU diplomatic relations but British media outlets have dubbed it the “Brexit diplomacy tour”.
London’s shock decision to exit the European Union has been closely watched in Poland. There are just under a million Poles in Britan, making them the biggest minority community.
But though the main goal appears to be a charm offensive by Britain, the visit will include a heavy emphasis on history.
As guests of President Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata, the royals will visit the Warsaw Uprising Museum and the former concentration camp Stutthof, which Nazi Germany set up in 1939 in what was then the free city of Danzig and is now the Polish city of Gdansk.
– Walesa, Holocaust and Airbus –
Also in the Baltic port city, Kate and William will visit the European Solidarity Centre museum, which tells the story of the Soviet bloc’s only free trade union.
They will also meet freedom icon Lech Walesa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize as the leader of the Solidarity trade union and later became Poland’s first democratically elected president after negotiating a bloodless end to communism for the country in 1989.
But William and Kate will also experience modern-day Poland, meeting with young entrepreneurs at the top of a Warsaw skyscraper and also tour the new Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre.
A meet-and-greet with actors dressed in Elizabethan costumes is also planned.
Germany for its part will show Prince William, who is a helicopter pilot, the Airbus training centre and the assembly line of the Airbus A320. The couple will also visit the Holocaust museum.
In both countries, William will also host receptions for select guests on the occasion of the Queen’s birthday.
The galas will be held at Warsaw’s Lazienki Park and the British ambassador’s residence in Berlin.