The Cayman Islands has received royalty many times in recent history, including two visits by Her Majesty the Queen, and most recently by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2019. Here is a reminder of royal visits over the past six decades.
1960 Mary, the Princess Royal
Mary was the first member of the Royal Family to grace Cayman’s shores, arriving on March 22, 1960 on the Royal Yacht Britannia.
1962 Prince Philip
The late husband of HM the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, arrived on a Royal Air Force plane, and visited from 3 to 5 April, 1962, staying at Government House on Seven Mile Beach.
1973 Prince Charles
Prince Charles visited in July 1973, acting in the capacity of an officer aboard HMS Minerva, and was well received by the public. He even managed a dance with tourism industry legend Suzy Soto who danced with the Prince to the Barefoot Man at the old Holiday Inn hotel.
1983 HM Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
The Queen first visited Cayman on 16 February 1983 for just one day, and toured the island with Prince Philip in a Rolls-Royce which was brought especially for the occasion, driven by Sergeant Buel Ebanks. It was estimated that about a quarter of the population (5,000 people) greeted their arrival at Owen Roberts International Airport. The royal visitors managed to tour the entire island during their short stay, from West Bay to North Side. The Queen’s Highway was officially opened by Her Majesty during that trip.
1988 Princess Alexandra
In October 1988, the Queen’s cousin Princess Alexandra became the first member of the royal family to visit Cayman Brac, as well as visiting Grand Cayman.
1994 HM Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
In February 1994, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip made a second visit, arriving on a Royal Air Force jet. During this visit the Queen knighted Sir Vassel Johnson, the first Caymanian to receive a knighthood.
The Queen opened two national projects, the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park in North Side and the Ed Bush Sports Centre, in West Bay. She also unveiled a commemorative plaque at the newly-developed Wreck of the Ten Sails Historic Park in East End.
2000 Prince Andrew
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, visited Cayman from 18 to 20 March, 2000, taking part in a reception at Pedro St James and speaking with residents of The Pines Retirement Home.
Prince Edward – 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2016
Prince Edward has been a regular visitor to Cayman in recent years, as the Royal Patron of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute on Little Cayman. He has visited in May 2003, November 2004, February 2007, January 2009 and March 2016. The Prince unveiled and dedicated the Wall of History in Celebration Park during Cayman’s Quincentennial in 2003. Cayman residents were able to meet his wife, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, in March 2016 during their most recent visit, when the Prince joined Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme participants at Government House, while the Countess addressed 100 Women in Hedge Funds at the National Gallery. Her Royal Highness then rejoined her husband at Government House for the presentation of the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award to Lashonda Powell.
Two very special days
On the 27 March 2019 Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, began a two-day tour that saw them meet and greet hundreds of Cayman residents across all three islands.
Prince Charles visited Cayman Brac, opening its swimming pool and attending a reception with the Governor and the Premier of the Cayman Islands, and met with the local community. He then went on to Little Cayman to visit the CCMI where he watched a presentation on marine conservation with Cayman International School students.
The Central Caribbean Marine Institute tweeted after his visit that it was “a privilege to share the work we do at CCMI with Prince Charles today. Our key takeaway – we can save coral reefs if we act now!”
His Royal Highness then travelled to Grand Cayman where he visited Clifton Hunter High School to meet with its Head Boy, Head Girl, and Principal before heading to the Queen Elizabeth II Royal Botanic Park to attend a roundtable discussion on sustainability.
At the Botanic Park, Prince Charles met with its manager to learn more about its future goals to engage children through the Children’s Centre before cutting a ribbon and unveiling a plaque to commemorate his visit. The Prince went on to meet with hurricane relief workers, who provided hurricane relief to Turks and Caicos following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The Duchess of Cornwall visited Jasmine Villa Hospice with the Governor’s wife, Lissie Roper, at which she unveiled a plaque and cut a ribbon to mark her visit. Camilla then paid a visit to the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre to learn about the work of the Teens and Young Adults Lounge. She then visited George Town Primary School where she watched a choir performance, met with staff members, and listened to a poetry recital from several students.
For their final engagement in the Cayman Islands, the royal couple attended a reception and cultural celebration at Pedro St. James, where Prince Charles presided over the Investiture Ceremony for three Caymanians, including Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, who were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
The Prince said: “We are deeply grateful to have been given such a special welcome on all three islands and to have met so many people from such diverse backgrounds who now call these islands home. As we leave you this evening, we will take with us the fondest memories of these beautiful islands and the warmth of the Cayman Islands people.”