02 August 2012
| last updated at 03:41PM
The Royal Visit
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be visiting Malaysia from 13 to 15 September to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
Now that St James’s Palace has revealed that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be visiting Malaysia from 13 to 15 September to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, I thought you might enjoy a unique insight into what it’s like to prepare for a Royal Visit. I plan to blog again just before Their Royal Highnesses arrive in Malaysia and then just after so that I can share some thoughts on how the visit went and my personal highlights.
For the last eight weeks, I have been working with the High Commissioner to oversee preparations for the entire programme. This means regular discussions with St James’s Palace and the Malaysian Government to ensure that the individual elements are coming together; that the programme strikes the right balance between formality and festivity; and that we factor in the security and media requirements.
As you may recall from my blog on the eve of the British Prime Minister’s visit to Malaysia, planning a visit of this magnitude can be a nerve-racking experience for the team involved as you try to work with your host country to nail down each and every detail. From media locations for the all-important arrival shots to transportation from Kuala Lumpur to the rainforest – no stone can be left unturned.
But one thing that I’m extremely grateful for is that we have a wonderful team in St James’s Palace to work with. The Royal Household came out to Malaysia in late-June for a recce visit and we must have shown them at least 20 different sites in Kuala Lumpur and Sabah.
The Household could not have been more accommodating or receptive, and we were able, at the end of that visit, to sketch out the main elements of the programme. I know that the Household was really taken with their visit to the rainforest, helped in no small part by an orang utang appearing five minutes after their arrival, and I’m so pleased that the Duke and Duchess agreed to keep this element in the final programme. Let’s hope the orang utan reappears during the actual visit!
I know from speaking to the Household that the Duke and Duchess are extremely excited to be visiting Malaysia and we hope that at some point over their three days here, the public will get a chance to see them. The Royal Couple will also visit a local charity and will meet His Majesty The Agong and Prime Minister Najib. The High Commissioner will also host a small Diamond Jubilee Tea Party – we will soon be announcing a special competition on our website, Facebook page and Twitter account where you could win an invitation to the party and perhaps even meet the Royal Couple!
I think it goes without saying that all of us in the High Commission are extremely excited and proud to be involved in this historic visit. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are a remarkable couple who have captured the hearts and imaginations of people around the world. I have no doubt that photos of the couple meeting Malaysians of all ethnicities in this stunning country will fill magazines and blogs from America to Australia.
Counsellor (Foreign Policy and Security) at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur