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Glamorous Charles and Camilla dazzle at black tie dinner in Rwanda for Commonwealth leaders event

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The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall are dazzling at the black tie Commonwealth leaders’ dinner in the Rwandan capital of Kigali as they put tensions with Boris over migrant policy to one side.

The Prince of Wales has told Commonwealth leaders the potential of the family of the nations for good cannot be realised until we all ‘acknowledge the wrongs which have shaped our past’. 

Charles described how he was on a personal journey of discovery and was continuing to ‘deepen my own understanding of slavery’s enduring impact’, in a speech at the opening of a Commonwealth summit in Rwanda.

He recognised the roots of the family of nations ‘run deep into the most painful period of our history’ and acknowledging the wrongs of the past was a ‘conversation whose time has come’.

But there was no apology from the heir to the throne for the royal family’s involvement in the transportation and selling of people for profit.

For centuries, successive monarchs and other royals participated in the trade, either supporting and facilitating the activity or making money from it.

Charles told the gathering of prime ministers and presidents, who included Boris Johnson, he could not ‘describe the depths of my personal sorrow at the suffering of so many’ during slavery.

A much-anticipated meeting between Charles and Boris Johnson lasted 15 minutes. Before they sat down for talks, Mr Johnson had stepped back from comments he would tell Charles to be open-minded about his Rwanda asylum policy. 

The Prince is representing the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm), but his visit to the Rwandan capital Kigali has been overshadowed by a row over reported comments he made criticising the Government’s scheme to send asylum seekers to the east African nation.

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall are dazzling at the black tie Commonwealth leaders’ dinner in the Rwandan capital of Kigali as they put tensions with Boris over migrant policy to one side

The Prince told the world leaders the family of nations was ‘uniquely positioned to achieve such positive change in our world’, adding: ‘To achieve this potential for good, however, and to unlock the power of our common future, we must also acknowledge the wrongs which have shaped our past.

The Duchess of Cornwall opted not to wear a tiara to tonight’s glamorous black tie Commonwealth Heads of Government Dinner but dazzled in Bruce Oldfield and her new order of the garter.

Camilla, 74, also wore her diamond encrusted family order bearing a portrait of the Queen on her elegant deep blue evening gown.

The duchess hosted the dinner alongside her husband, the Prince of Wales, on behalf of the Queen at the Marriott Hotel in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

The Government Dinner is always held on the opening day of the biannual gathering of leaders.

An aide said: ‘The Duchess of Cornwall has chosen not to wear a tiara on this occasion.’

A much-anticipated meeting between Charles and Boris Johnson (pictured with Carrie Johnson) lasted 15 minutes. Before they sat down for talks, Mr Johnson had stepped back from comments he would tell Charles to be open-minded about his Rwanda asylum policy

A much-anticipated meeting between Charles and Boris Johnson (pictured with Carrie Johnson) lasted 15 minutes. Before they sat down for talks, Mr Johnson had stepped back from comments he would tell Charles to be open-minded about his Rwanda asylum policy

The couple were met by a familiar face, the Master of the Queen’s Household, The Earl of Rosslyn, who was there to represent Her Majesty, who is head of the Commonwealth, and oversea the event.

He presented The President of the Republic of Rwanda, His Excellency Paul Kagame, and The First Lady, Her Excellency Jeanette Kagame, as well as the Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Baroness Scotland.

There was a genial air amongst the leaders of the ‘family of nations’ as the Prince and duchess stood to greet each one of them in the traditional line-up.

The first to speak to them were British Prime Minister Boris Johnson – his shirt hanging out of the back of his trousers – and his wife Carrie.

It appears that their cup of tea earlier in the day had cleared any air between Charles and Boris as the two greeted each other jovially. Carrie gave the Prince a low curtsey.

The politician had one eye on the cameras as he raised his hands in the air loudly proclaiming ‘democracy, democracy’.

After greeting all 54 leaders and their partners, the royals joined them at a reception on an outdoor terrace for around half an hour.

At 9pm sharp the party, with the Prince and duchess bringing up the rear, entered the dinner.

The prince is representing the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm), but his visit to the Rwandan capital Kigali has been overshadowed by a row over reported comments he made criticising the Government's scheme to send asylum seekers to the east African nation

The prince is representing the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm), but his visit to the Rwandan capital Kigali has been overshadowed by a row over reported comments he made criticising the Government’s scheme to send asylum seekers to the east African nation

The Duchess of Cornwall (pictured) opted not to wear a tiara to tonight's glamorous black tie Commonwealth Heads of Government Dinner but dazzled in Bruce Oldfield and her new order of the garter

The Duchess of Cornwall (pictured) opted not to wear a tiara to tonight’s glamorous black tie Commonwealth Heads of Government Dinner but dazzled in Bruce Oldfield and her new order of the garter

The dinner menu had been selected to recognise cultural, religious, and dietary sensitivities as well as use local produce where possible.

It featured Avocado and Cucumber Roulade on a seeded Cracker with Roasted Red Pepper and Mango Salsa, Suprême of Chicken with Wild Mushrooms, Wilted Amaranth Leaves and Cassava Croquettes followed by Passion Fruit Cheesecake with Watermelon, Lime and Yoghurt.

There were wines from the UK, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa with Question Coffee, a local social enterprise organisation which provides work for female Rwandan coffee growers.

There was also Mauritian rum, Scotch whisky, Australian brandy and Maltese Limoncello Liqueur.

Music played during the dinner was performed by three Rwandan musicians, including one playing the Inanga, a traditional musical instrument.

The table centre pieces were traditional Rwandese woven baskets which are known as ‘peace baskets’ and had been woven especially for the dinner by Irebe women weavers using eco-friendly raw materials such as long grass, from the swamps and mountain in Rwanda.

The craft is call ‘Agaseke’ and the baskets are traditionally used to carry gifts to friends and family, a symbol of peace, gifting, and friendship.

The couple were met by a familiar face, the Master of the Queen's Household, The Earl of Rosslyn, who was there to represent Her Majesty, who is head of the Commonwealth, and oversea the event. Pictured welcoming guests

The couple were met by a familiar face, the Master of the Queen’s Household, The Earl of Rosslyn, who was there to represent Her Majesty, who is head of the Commonwealth, and oversea the event. Pictured welcoming guests

The baskets had been found by the Prince’s team at Clarence House when they did a preliminary visit and Buckingham Palace so loved them they decided to incorporate them in the decorations for the night.

The table centre mats for the evening dinner were made in the CHOGM 2022 logo colours by women at the Mayange Reconciliation Village which The Prince of Wales visited on Wednesday.

And even the napkins used during the dinner were produced by the Nyamirambo Women’s Centre, a project which aimed to address gender-based violence, gender inequality and discrimination.

Before the dinner two toasts were proposed: the first to the Commonwealth was given by the Prime Minister of Tonga and the second, to Her Majesty The Queen, was given by the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, who spoke warmly of the Commonwealth’s love and admiration for Her Majesty.

All Commonwealth leaders had a gold goblet with their emblem and country engraved on it by their place setting - a typically thoughtful gesture by Buckingham Palace. The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured

All Commonwealth leaders had a gold goblet with their emblem and country engraved on it by their place setting – a typically thoughtful gesture by Buckingham Palace. The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured

The Prince had President Kagame on his right and the First Lady of Sierra Leone on his left.

The duchess had Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to her right and the President of Ghana on her left.

All Commonwealth leaders had a gold goblet with their emblem and country engraved on it by their place setting – a typically thoughtful gesture by Buckingham Palace.

Before departing for Kigali International Airport, the Prince and duchess met staff who played an important role in delivering the dinner, or helped elsewhere to make their visit so memorable.

Prince Charles, in his speech at the dinner, continued:  ‘Many of those wrongs belong to an earlier age with different – and, in some ways lesser – values.

‘By working together, we are building a new and enduring friendship.’ Charles, who will succeed the Queen as head of the Commonwealth, went on to say: ‘For while we strive together for peace, prosperity and democracy, I want to acknowledge that the roots of our contemporary association run deep into the most painful period of our history.

‘I cannot describe the depths of my personal sorrow at the suffering of so many, as I continue to deepen my own understanding of slavery’s enduring impact.

‘If we are to forge a common future that benefits all our citizens, we too must find new ways to acknowledge our past. Quite simply, this is a conversation whose time has come.’

Charles also told the world leaders decisions about whether they keep the Queen as head of state or become a republic was an issue for them to make, and a long life had taught him these fundamental changes could be made ‘calmly and without rancour’.

His comments are likely to be interpreted as acknowledging forces already in motion, as a number of Caribbean nations have already suggested they may ditch the British monarchy and elect their own heads of state.

‘I want to say clearly, as I have said before, that each member’s Constitutional arrangement, as republic or monarchy, is purely a matter for each member country to decide,’ the Prince said.

Charles and Mr Johnson had met briefly before they joined leaders from the Commonwealth’s 54 member states in the Kigali Conference Centre’s main hall for the opening ceremony.

Delegates included the Sultan of Brunei, the presidents of Botswana, Guyana, Nigeria and Uganda and prime ministers from Canada, Jamaica, St Lucia, Cameroon and Singapore.

The British Prime Minister had warmly greeted the heir to the throne ahead of the Chogm launch, displaying positive body language after he appeared to take a veiled verbal swipe, on Thursday, at the Prince and those who have attacked his plans to forcibly remove migrants to Rwanda.

Charles's speech to Commonwealth leaders, which also covered the issues of youth opportunity and climate change, was considered an opportunity to 'set out his vision' for its future, an aide said

Charles’s speech to Commonwealth leaders, which also covered the issues of youth opportunity and climate change, was considered an opportunity to ‘set out his vision’ for its future, an aide said

Charles’s speech to Commonwealth leaders, which also covered the issues of youth opportunity and climate change, was considered an opportunity to ‘set out his vision’ for its future, an aide said.

With 60 per cent of the Commonwealth’s 2.6 billion population under 30, Charles sees ensuring youth opportunity, training and employment as ‘critical’.

Many member states were ‘massively impacted’ by climate change and so for the Prince to bring businesses to Chogm to discuss potential solutions was ‘critically important’, the aide added.

And Charles realised that in order to achieve that vision the ‘historic shared past’ must be recognised, which meant him making a personal statement about his sorrow.

After the opening ceremony the world leaders went into a closed session to decide whether secretary-general Baroness Scotland should have another term in office. 

They re-elected Baroness Scotland, dealing a blow to Mr Johnson, who had wanted her ousted, but their deliberations lasted much longer than expected and meant Charles was unable to host new heads of state at a reception and meet leaders for bilateral talks.

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