King Charles III and Queen Camilla’s royal tour to Kenya has already produced some awkward moments in just 24 hours.
While some are demanding an apology from the King for colonial damage, the Queen was dragged into an impromptu traditional Maasai dance for which she was not prepared.
Charles and Camilla visiting Kenya
This is the first time the British King and Queen have traveled to a Commonwealth country since assuming the Crown following the death of Elizabeth II. This trip coincides with the 60th anniversary of the country’s independence.
The royal couple arrived Tuesday in Nairobi, where they were received by the president, William Ruto, and the first lady, Rachel Ruto.
Queen Camilla’s Dance in Kenya
Queen Camilla’s impromptu dance took place during her visit to the Brooke East Africa charity.
Upon her arrival, Maasai women surprised the Queen Consort with a traditional song and dance ceremony.
Videos show Camilla unsure as the rhythmically dressed women jumped and sang around her.
When asked to participate, the Queen Consort awkwardly followed the rhythm, banging on drums and shakers passed to her.
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) November 1, 2023
Camilla’s obvious awkwardness highlights the difficulties faced by royals on foreign tours.
Official programs cannot anticipate unexpected moments like the Masai welcome. However, reacting with kindness is important for successful diplomacy.
The Queen Consort carefully followed cultural cues despite her visible surprise.
King Charles’ speech in Kenya
Meanwhile, King Charles continued to be demanded a formal apology for British colonial abuses in Kenya.
In his speech Tuesday at a banquet in Nairobi, Charles acknowledged the “wrongs of the past,” caused by the British Empire without giving an explicit apology.
“The wrongdoings of the past are a cause of the greatest sorrow and the deepest regret,” Charles said.
Activists insist that a clear admission of wrongs committed after the brutal suppression of the Mau Mau rebellion by the British administration during the 1950s, at the beginning of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, is needed.
Between 1952 and 1963, 90,000 Kenyans were executed and tortured. The official death toll exceeded 10,000.
Although Charles acknowledged the “abhorrent and unjustifiable” acts of violence against Kenyans as they fought for independence and sovereignty, he has been severely criticized.
One such critical voice against King Charles and his visit to Kenya comes from Kehinde Andrews, Professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University.
“Even an apology wouldn’t be enough, to be honest. Nothing less than giving up his throne at the Treetops Hotel, where his mother found out she was queen, would be enough to show that he understands the royal family’s complicity in the racism that still marks the country and the continent. The very idea of the king visiting the former ‘colonies’ is symbolic violence in itself, to be honest,” Andrews told Newsweek.