Royal visits to The Gambia draft 1

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Prince Rupert, Duke of Cumberland (1619-1682) was the son of Elizabeth, daughter of King James VI, and Prince Frederick V of Germany. In 1649-1652 Prince Rupert visited and sailed 150 miles up the River Gambia and found it a safe and lucrative trading station. He caught malaria while on this trip.  He returned to England to establish the Company of Royal Adventurers Trading into Africa, later called the Royal African Company trading house which established a base in The Gambia.

Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII ( 1894 – 1972) Visited The Gambia in 1925 as part of a Royal Tour of Africa. He was accorded a big welcome at the Bathurst sea front by the chiefs and elders of The Gambia Colony. In his Royal Address, he called The Gambia ‘our most loyal Colony’, which was a great source of pride to Gambians. A river steamer mv Prince of Wales which plied Bathurst to Fatoto, was named in honour of his visit.

Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921-) Visited The Gambia in January 1957 as part of a Royal World Tour which began in 1956. He spent three days in The Gambia, visiting agricultural projects and meeting Chiefs. He was very interested in food security issues in the Colony. He went on a crocodile hunting expedition in The River Gambia, a trip he fondly called Bolong Crocodile Bashing!

Queen Elizabeth II (1926-) Her Royal Highness Visited The Gambia in December 1961 as part of a Royal Tour of West Africa. She received a grand welcome from Gambians upon arrival and during the entire stay. At a civic welcome at Maccarthy Square in Bathurst, Her Royal Highness was introduced to the 36 Gambian Chiefs who pledge loyalty to Her Majesty. Chief Minister P.S Njie also read a Loyal Address. Her Royal Highness also visited a Gambian village Njawara.

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (1935-) Visited The Gambia in February 1965 to handover the Instruments of Independence on 18 February 1965, ending colonial rule in The Gambia. He lowered the Union Jack at the Maccarthy Square at midnight 18 February 1965. Prince Edward also addressed a gathering of Gambian chiefs at a meeting in Brikama where he thanked Gambian chiefs for their steadfast support to British rule and for their role in maintaining order during this period.

Princess Royal, Anne(1950-) In December 1984, the Princess Royal Anne paid a three day Visit to The Gambia. She was the first Royal to visit Independence Gambia. She was given a rousing welcome by then Gambian President Alhaji Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara at a Civic ceremony at Maccarthy Square, Banjul. The Princess Royal visited the Royal Victoria Hospital in Banjul, the Bansang Hospital and met district chiefs.

Author: Hassoum Ceesay, National Museum, Banjul