26 January 2024
His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh departed St Helena earlier today, concluding his four-day visit to the island.
Before his departure HRH officially opened the St Helena International Airport in a public ceremony. The Duke commemorated the special event by unveiling a plaque marking the official opening of the airport.
During his visit to St Helena, The Duke undertook a series of engagements to celebrate the culture, people, and biodiversity of the island. These engagements included visiting various significant landmarks and places of interest, and meeting with a cross-section of the St Helenian community through a number of events.
Some of these visits included the well-known Jacob’s ladder, as well as the St Helena Museum, New Horizons Youth Centre, HRH The Princess Royal Community Care Centre and St Helena’s Active Participation in Enterprise (SHAPE) charity. The Duke also made a visit to 192-year-old Jonathan the tortoise, just as his mother Queen Elizabeth II and his grandfather King George VI had done in 1947.
On Wednesday 24 January, His Royal Highness commemorated his visit to the island in a tree planting ceremony at the Castle Gardens. This was followed by a public event held on the Grand Parade where over 1,000 people are thought to have attended. Two students presented The Duke with gifts on behalf of the island, after which The Duke engaged in a meet-and-greet with the St Helenian community.
The Duke also learnt about St Helena’s incredible wildlife and the conservation efforts underway to protect it. He enjoyed a marine tour where he encountered the island’s other famous visitors, the whale sharks, and saw the remnants of the island’s military days, observing the various battery’s lining the coast. The Duke also visited the endemic Millennium Forest. He undertook a guided wire bird tour, followed by a walk through the forest to hear more about the work of the St Helena National Trust and other environmental projects, before planting his own tree.