Prince Edward takes on an important royal duty during brother King Charles’ first state visit

Now that his brother King Charles has risen to the throne Prince Edward helps out by taking on some extra royal duties.

On Wednesday the Earl of Wessex accompanied the President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa on two important environmental visits. The couple began the second day of the President’s two-day state visit with a tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, south-west London. They chose this location to underscore the science and conservation partnerships between their two countries, particularly the relationship of the Royal Botanic Gardens’ Millennium Seed Bank Partnership with the South African National Biodiversity Institute. The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership is the largest third party crop protection program in the world with an underground collection of 2.4 billion different seeds. Edward and Ramaphosa surveyed the incredible variety of plants in the gardens, noting in particular the king protea, the national flower of South Africa. To celebrate the next phase of Millennium Seed Bank’s partnership and relationship between their two countries, the President was also presented with seeds of the Leucospermum plant after touring the Temperate House at the world-renowned facility. During the visit, Ramaphosa also called on rich nations to help save the vulnerable from climate change, which is putting the amazing biodiversity they saw in the gardens that day in jeopardy.

After the visit, the duo returned to central London, where they stopped at the Francis Crick Institute, a biomedical research center specializing in the study of the biology of health and disease. This institute works with the University of KwaZulu-Natal, a public university in South Africa, and it was there that Edward and Ramaphosa were able to see how the technology the institute helped develop was used to diagnose diseases across Africa, including COVID-19 , is used. They also visited some of the South African students and researchers working there. After those two stops, Ramaphosa met up with the newcomers from Britain Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street and then attended a business forum at Lancaster House. He ended the last day of his state visit with a formal farewell to King Charles at Buckingham Palace and a banquet hosted by city officials in the Guildhall.

This solo outing with a world leader marks an important moment for Prince Edward as it shows he could play an increasingly active and significant role within the royal family during his brother’s reign. It also explains why King Charles earlier this week asked the UK Parliament to nominate the Earl of Wessex and his sister Princess Anne Councilors of State, a title that would allow both to act as royal representatives representing the monarch on official royal duties whenever he is abroad or in inclement weather. Another reason for this request is that Parliament has recently pointed out that two of King Charles’ current Councilors of State, Prince Harry and Prince AndrewThey are no longer senior working royals. Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex have also been asked to represent the royal family at next month’s annual Royal Variety Performance, which marks the couple’s first time attending the show.

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Charles Jones

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