Monarch’s First Commonwealth Visit to Kenya Includes Acknowledgement of Britain’s Colonial Past

King Charles III, accompanied by Queen Camilla, embarks on a significant four-day state visit to Kenya, marking his initial official trip to a Commonwealth nation since his coronation in May 2023. The journey holds historical significance as Kenya was the very country where his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was proclaimed queen in February 1952 at the age of 25.

During their visit, the royal couple will engage with various dignitaries, including President William Ruto, government officials, UN representatives, CEOs, faith leaders, and young leaders, as well as UK and Kenyan Marines involved in joint training exercises.

One of the focal points of this historic visit is King Charles III’s acknowledgment of the painful chapters of Britain’s colonial history in Kenya, particularly during the “Emergency” period of 1952-1960. This period saw a state of emergency declared in response to the Mau Mau uprising, which resulted in significant loss of life and is considered one of the most brutal episodes in Britain’s imperial history.

The trip coincides with Kenya’s preparations to commemorate its 60th year of independence from British rule in December. The choice of Kenya as the destination for King Charles III’s inaugural Commonwealth visit underscores the deep emotional and historical ties between the UK and Kenya.

The Kenyan Human Rights Commission reports that approximately 90,000 individuals faced torture, mutilation, or death during the counterinsurgency operation led by British colonial authorities. In 2013, the UK government expressed regret for the “torture and other forms of ill-treatment” during this period and provided reparations to over 5,000 affected individuals.

Chris Fitzgerald, the King’s deputy private secretary, emphasized that the visit aims to celebrate the strong connections between the British and Kenyan peoples in various fields such as arts, technology, enterprise, education, and innovation.

The trip will encompass visits to Nairobi City County, Mombasa County, and surrounding areas, offering opportunities for cultural exchange and mutual collaboration in areas including climate action, biodiversity, sustainable urban development, youth empowerment, technology, and innovation.

This landmark visit is expected to resonate deeply with both nations, recognizing the shared history while emphasizing the potential for a future built on collaboration, understanding, and reconciliation.

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