British Crown Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, are visiting Croatia on Monday and Tuesday as part of a regional tour that will include Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo.
President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic will be their host during their visit to Croatia. The Prince of Wales has visited the region eight times to date, and this will be his fifth visit to Croatia. The Duchess is visiting Croatia for the first time.
This is an important visit for us and its purpose is to strengthen relations between Croatia and Great Britain, not just political relations, but also relations between citizens, Ian Cliff, Charge d'Affairs at the British Embassy in Zagreb, has said.
The Prince and the Duchess are not political representatives of the United Kingdom and their visit will not focus on burning political issues, such as whether Britain will stay in the European Union, but on issues in the domain of their interest, Cliff said.
The Prince has for years been a strong supporter of inter-religious dialogue and greater understanding between religions and has been advocating youth education, sustainable development, environmental protection and responsible business.
The Duchess is known for her efforts to raise public awareness of sexual violence, for supporting rape victims, promoting literacy and raising awareness of osteoporisis. She is also the patron of several foundations dealing with horses.
They both support local food production and promote healthy diets. Prince Charles is patron or president of 420 charity organisations and foundations, and Duchess Camilla is patron or president of about 20 such organisations.
The royal couple are due to arrive at Zagreb airport at 2.15 pm on Monday. Their visit will be covered by about 180 accredited Croatian and British journalists.
They will begin their visit by meeting with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and her husband Jakov. It has been learnt that the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will be presented with a painting and wines from the Ilok cellars that were served during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952.
The schedule includes a sight-seeing tour of Zagreb's Upper Town, where the royal couple will be greeted by Mayor Milan Bandic. They are due to visit St Mark's Church and then meet with Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic. Later on they will visit the Croatian National Theatre to attend a programme marking the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.
In the evening a formal dinner will be given in the President's Office, to be attended by 68 guests, including political leaders, religious dignitaries, business people and prominent public figures. Opposition leader Zoran Milanovic has excused himself, citing pressing business. Among the guests will be actress Zrinka Cvitesic who has achieved great success in London's West End.
On Tuesday, the royal couple will travel to eastern Croatia to visit Osijek and its old town which is included on UNESCO's World Heritage List. They are due to meet with local government officials and representatives of religious and ethnic communities and business people. During their meetings, the Duchess will talk about victims of sexual violence and the Prince about post-war reconstruction, cultural heritage and tourism.
Prince Charles is scheduled to visit Kopacki Rit Nature Park and the Zlatna Greda environmental centre to get acquainted with activities relating to sustainable development, while the Duchess will visit the Lipizzan stud farm in Djakovo, one of the oldest in Europe. Queen Elizabeth II visited the farm in 1972 and drove around the town in a four-horse carriage. Today the carriage is on display in the Djakovo Riding School, along with the guest book signed by the Queen and several photographs.
At the end of their visit, on Tuesday evening Prince Charles and his wife will attend a reception at the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb marking the 70th anniversary of the presence of the British Council in Croatia. It is not yet known whether on this occasion the Prince will briefly address those present.
During the visit to the region from March 14 to 19, the Prince is scheduled to deliver his main speech in Belgrade on March 17 on the subject of reconciliation.