Speculation has been circulating for some weeks now on whether or not Prince William will attend the wedding of his close friend Jecca Craig this weekend in Kenya. It has now been announced that Prince William has flown solo to Kenya. The Duke wisely made the long flight count doubly by incorporating some official duties with his personal trip.
The Palace press release states:
THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE WILL UNDERTAKE A PRIVATE VISIT TO KENYA
The Duke of Cambridge will visit Kenya over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend between 24th and 27th March 2016, on a private trip.
At the start of his short visit to the country, on Thursday 24th March, the Duke of Cambridge will attend a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta. The meeting is taking place at the request of Her Majesty's Government, and His Royal Highness is pleased to have the opportunity to meet the President while he is in Kenya. They will discuss the relationship between the United Kingdom and Kenya, to deepen relations between the two countries on a broad range of topics including defence and security, and conservation.
The Duke, who is President of United For Wildlife, will spend the remainder of the day seeing first-hand some of the longstanding conservation and anti-poaching initiatives taking place in Kenya, which are supported by Tusk Trust, the charity of which he is Royal Patron.
His Royal Highness will witness vets at work in the field as they fit radio tracking collars to elephants to help with research and conservation. The Duke of Cambridge will also spend time with a team of highly trained rangers in Lewa Conservancy, to learn about their work protecting one of Africa's significant rhino populations from poaching.
The remainder of this short visit to the country will be private.
Pictures were released today of the Duke with Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, in the meeting during which they discussed anti-poaching measures as well as some of Tusk Trusts' initiatives. Interestingly, William also was tasked with discussing security and defense issues. In December, BBC news reported that Prince William does occasionally receive Cabinet papers, and today's inclusion of two very weighty topics underscores that the prince is slowly being prepped for his ultimate role.
The "private" part of his visit is, of course, Jecca Craig's wedding, and much has been made of William's decision to attend, but ultimately it shouldn't be surprising. A wedding is generally (hopefully) a once in a lifetime event. William and Jecca have been close friends for many, many years, and more than that, William is close to the entire Craig family. It makes perfect sense that he would attend, and that given the long flight and upcoming tour of India, that Kate and the children would stay home.
It is important to remember that William spent some months at the Lewa Reserve in Kenya during his gap year. The reserve was formed by the Craig family, who owned and ranched the property since the 1920s! The time William spent working at the conservancy obviously had a profound impact on him and solidified what will obviously be a life-long bond with the Craigs. In 2008, Prince William skipped the wedding of his own cousin Peter Phillips, to fly to Kenya for Jecca's brother's wedding.
|Kate Middleton with Harry and Chelsy at the 2008 Wedding of Peter Phillips|
Suppositions that this trip is in anyway a snub to Kate are unfounded. To review, William married Kate. He dated her, he broke up with her, he came back to her. William chose Kate. In 2010, William brought Kate to Lewa to propose to her, highlighting just how important both Lewa and Kate are to the prince. There is no competition here and there is no cause for residual jealously. Not only did William marry Kate, but he is going to Kenya to celebrate Jecca's choice to share her life with another man! The idea that there is tension between Kate and Jecca is largely the fabrication of tabloid magazines. The more mundane reality is that Jecca and Kate have been socializing happily for many years. Here they are whispering away at Boodles in 2008:
And celebrating William's birthday at a polo game:
In recent years they ladies have continued to be pictured at weddings around Britain. The three (Wills, Kate, and Jecca) see one another at many different social events and William and Harry have flown overseas to hunt with Jecca and friends since William's marriage. Stories that William and Jecca may have shared a high school crush are hardly relevant well over a decade later. Everyone has experienced youthful infatuation or even more serious romantic inclinations, that are never realized. Once the intensity of actual infatuation has passed--sometimes completely undetected by the other party--it isn't unusual for a warm friendship to remain, particularly when the connections are as strong as William's are with Jecca's family. The idea that Jecca and William are like boxes of dry tinder, ready to ignite and explode in romantic chemistry at the slightest provocation, does not square with the vast majority of human experience. Seriously, think about it for a second.
It will undoubtedly be hard for William to miss Easter with his own family, and to miss Charlotte's first Easter, but he and Kate obviously decided that it was important to represent at this milestone in Jecca's life, and I frankly would have made the same decision. The Craigs obviously hold a position akin to family for William, and he treats them accordingly. People and relationships are important and although blood is thicker than water, some of the most important familial bonds we have in life can be those we create ourselves. Given some of the dysfunctional elements of William's clan (I'm thinking mostly of the Spencers right now...) it isn't shocking that William has formed this alternate alliance. Kate, George, and Charlotte will celebrate Easter with the Middletons and assuredly have a second Easter Egg hunt when Daddy gets home.