Prince Charles in Africa: A royal visit to the land of princes and chiefs


Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is greeted by the traditional dancers during a tour of Christiansborg Castle on November 3, 2018 in Accra, GhanaImage copyright
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Ghanaian journalist Elizabeth Ohene reflects on the Prince of Wales' two visits to the West African state.

Prince Charles could be described as handsome, when he was in the newsroom.

This was in 1977 and the prince was a 29-year old unmarried man. All young unmarried rich men used to be described as dashing.

I think those who were handsome were in the majority of the posters and they came from the desk.

Dancing to highlife music

Forty-one years later, Prince Charles has visited Ghana again, with his second wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, and to the British High Commission in Accra, part of the celebrations for his 70th birthday.

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Prince Charles was a bachelor when he visited Ghana in 1977

The couple have been busy doing what they do, visiting sites, looking earnest and joining in with dancing groups.

On Sunday, they were guests of the Asantehene, one of Ghana's main ethnic groups, aid from anyone.

There was a banquet on Monday, where the couple danced to highlife music, the country's well-known musical style.

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Ghana was the second stop of the prince's current African tour

Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo had made an elaborate toast and decorated Prince Charles with the highest state honor. I wondered if you had a room somewhere in Buckingham Palace where these sashes and gongs are kept.

It was on Monday, the fourth day of the visit, that we finally had a chance to hear the prince speak publicly, from which time we were beginning to think he had to be seen.

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The Asantehene, King Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, arranged for a special ceremony to welcome the couple

He, however, made up his three days of silence. He gave a packed conference center. It was a subject that is close to his heart – the environment, and saving our planet.

He spoke about climate change, the disappearing of Lake Chad, the plastic waste and the pollution of the world's oceans.

Steering clear of local politics

He urged us in Ghana to save the environment. I kept waiting for him to mention "galamsey", the Ghanaian word for illegal mining, which epitomizes our destruction of the environment.

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The portrait is made from recycled plastics

But he never did, and those who know about these things told me that he would not be interested in Ghanaian politics.

Prince Charles at the fancy night club, Sandbox, at the beach in Accra, discussing the world's plastic crisis with environmental campaigners. The beach there is breathtakingly beautiful.

Elizabeth Ohene:

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Elizabeth Ohene

"Ghana is so full of royalty" – every village has a full complement, every other person claims to be a prince or princess "

I was one of the many at the reception desk at the High Commissioner's residence to celebrate the visit and mark the prince's birthday.

The crowd, consisted mostly of members of the British-Ghanaian Diaspora, members of the UK community in Ghana, and Ghanaians from the walks of life "who share a connection with the UK".

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Prince Charles was given a warm welcome by traditional rulers

I doubt I have ever seen so many uniformed, braided and medalled men under one roof. I wondered just how many traveled with the prince.

It was me thinking that when I lived in the UK, I always had great difficulty understanding the British people had towards their royal family. I was not always clear to me if I was a bowler, scraping and newspaper.

Read more:

  • £ 5 coin marks Prince Charles' 70th birthday
  • Royal Family tree and line of succession

Ghana is so full of royalty and royalty free online. a British prince, no matter how many rows of medals he had on his chest.

The reception deserved to be described as special; The decor was beautiful, the music was excellent, the food was devoured enthusiastically, there was enough booze to keep the gathering in good humor.

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Prince Charles visited at market in the second city Kumasi

Prince Charles came in a cordoned area and a few people were allowed in to shake his hands. He did not utter a single public word throughout the evening.

The state of banquet on Monday night felt a little more relaxed, even though there were enough haute couture gowns to make any fashion editor feel at home.

Ghanaian-British designer, Oswald Boateng, who was a fashion show that has been showcased by a renowned designer, Oswald Boateng, who has been one of the beneficiaries of the Prince's Trust charity. He was given help setting up his first tailoring shop.

Prince Charles: Key facts

  • Born in Buckingham Palace in 1948
  • Becomes first in line to the throne in 1952
  • Becomes Prince of Wales in 1958
  • Marries Princess Diana in 1981
  • Divorces in July 1996
  • Marries Camilla Parker Bowles in civil ceremony in 2005
  • Becomes longest serving heir apparent in UK history in 2011

Prince Charles, Prince Charles, Prince Charles, who has been a well-equipped and knowledgeable staff.

Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, back in 1925.

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Prince Charles spoke passionately about the environment

Prince Charles has a great laugh from the audience when he recounted a story about his grand-uncle visiting the then Okyehene, the paramount chief of Akyem Abuakwa, in the east of Ghana.

The story goes that the heavens opened and the Okyehene gave an opportunity to get back, and apparently, this umbrella was never returned.

I know, this Prince of Wales brought an umbrella for the current Okyehene to replace the one his grand-uncle took away 93 years ago. I suspect it was not just a funny story but it was some honor meant to be served.

'The party ends when it ends'

But who is to ever understand the arcane ways of how British royalty behaviors and expects to be treated? The High Commission certainly kept up the protocols.

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Many Ghanaians hope the couple will visit Ghana again

It said it would start at 6pm and Carriages would be at 10.30pm. The invitation from our president only said guests were to be seated by 8pm.

She is the first President of the Jerry Rawlings, former President Jerry Rawlings, his wife Nana Konadu and Prince Charles and Nothing about Carriages, who was probably just as well, due to our first Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo, the Second Lady (as the wife of the vice president) the Duchess of Cornwall danced late into the night.

Proof, if any were needed that we do not do carriages here. The party ends when it ends.

The British royals had a taste of Ghana and they were taken between the last and the one.

More Letters from Africa

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