Prince Charles could be the first member of the Royal Family to visit Cuba on a historic official tour next year.
The visit to the island is still in the early stages of planning and has not been confirmed yet, according to the Daily Mail. But government officials from both countries are ‘extremely hopeful’ it will happen in the next few months, possibly as early as the spring.
In 2016 Barack Obama became the first US president to visit in 88 years, but no British Prime Minister has ever set foot on Cuban soil.
With the Queen no longer undertaking foreign travel, the prince’s official trips are akin to a state visit and will be viewed as a significant step forward in Britain’s relationships with the once Soviet-backed Cuba, particularly in a post-Brexit world.
Many senior royals, especially Charles, are seen to have the ability to open doors in parts of the world where politicians simply cannot, paving the way for high-level negotiations by ministers and diplomats.
Charles is likely to highlight local entrepreneurship as well as point to Britain as a potential trade and investment partner. The Cuban government is actively seeking inward foreign investment as it tries to grow its economy, which is struggling with heavy state controls and lower global commodity prices.
The UK recently told the United Nations it recognises Cuba’s positive steps in combating human trafficking but remains concerned about restrictions to the freedom of expression and the treatment of prisoners, issues which Charles is expected to raise indirectly.