Prince William and Kate visit Paris 20 years after Diana's death

Britain's Prince William and Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge meet veterans and serving members of the British armed forces at a reception following the unveiling of a national memorial honouring the Armed Forces and civilians who served their country during the Gulf War and conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in London March 9, 2017.
PHOTO: Reuters

Paris - Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate will pay an official visit to Paris on Friday and Saturday, months before the 20th anniversary of the death of William's mother Diana in a car crash in the French capital. 

The second-in-line to the throne and his spouse will meet President Francois Hollande and launch a initiative called "Les Voisins" (The Neighbours) designed to foster closer relations between the two countries at a time when Britain is set to begin the formal process of leaving the European Union. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will also host a black-tie dinner at the British Embassy and attend a Six Nations rugby match between France and Wales at the national stadium on Saturday. 

It will be the 34-year-old prince's first engagement as patron of the Welsh Rugby Union since taking over the role from his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. 

The couple will be travelling without their children, three-year-old George and one-year-old Charlotte. 

Although no official commemoration is planned during the trip, it will be impossible to escape the poignancy of Diana's eldest son visiting the city where she died on August 31, 1997. 

William was just 15 and his brother Harry 12 when their mother and her boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed were killed after the Mercedes in which they were passengers crashed in a tunnel in central Paris as it was being pursued at high speed by press photographers. 

Their French chauffeur Henri Paul, who was later found to be over the legal blood alcohol limit, also died. 

To mark the 20th anniversary of her death, the princes announced earlier this year they were setting up a committee to raise funds to pay for a statue of Diana, who was known as the Princess of Wales, to be erected in the public gardens of Kensington Palace in London, where she lived. 


William to the fore 

The Paris visit is another sign that the princes and their father, heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, are increasingly taking over official duties from the queen, who will turn 91 on June 10. 

William and Kate are also to visit to Germany and Poland in July. 

William has announced he is stepping down as an air ambulance helicopter pilot to focus more on royal business. 

The prince has been criticised as "work-shy" by the famously aggressive British tabloids over the number of engagements he performs compared with the queen. 

The young royals remain hugely popular in Britain, however, and also have a sizeable French fan base. 

Read also: Prince William retraces mother's steps at the Taj Mahal


Prince William and Kate visit Canada with their children

  • Britain's Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte arrive at the Victoria International Airport for the start of their eight day royal tour to Canada in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, September 24, 2016.
  • The plane carrying Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge arrives to their 2016 Canadian Royal Tour at Victoria Airport on September 24, 2016 in Victoria, Canada.
  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge arrive at the Victoria Airport on September 24, 2016 in Victoria, Canada.
  • Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talks with Prince George following the arrival of Britain's Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte at the Victoria International Airport for the start of their eight day royal tour to Canada in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, September 24, 2016.
  • Britain's Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte arrive at the Victoria International Airport for the start of their eight day royal tour to Canada in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, September 24, 2016. Also pictured (C, rear) are Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) and his wife Sophie Gregorire at the Victoria Airport to greet the British Royal Family on September 24, 2016 in Victoria, Canada.
  • Britain's Prince William inspects the honour guard during a welcome ceremony at the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, September 24, 2016.
  • Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, speak with aboriginal leaders during a welcome ceremony at the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, September 24, 2016.
  • Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge (L) and Prince William the Duke of Cambridge speak to First Nations elders as they arrive at the Legislative Assembly in Victoria, British Columbia on September 24, 2016.
  • Prince William the Duke of Cambridge watches First Nations traditional dancers in front of the Legislative Assembly in Victoria, British Columbia on September 24, 2016.
  • Crowds wait for the Royal Family to arrive at the Official Welcome Ceremony for the Royal Tour at the British Columbia Legislature on September 24, 2016 in Victoria, Canada. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte are visiting Canada as part of an eight day visit to the country taking in areas such as Bella Bella, Whitehorse and Kelowna.
  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend the Official Welcome Ceremony for the Royal Tour at the British Columbia Legislature on September 24, 2016 in Victoria, Canada. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte are visiting Canada as part of an eight day visit to the country taking in areas such as Bella Bella, Whitehorse and Kelowna.
  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregorire attend the Official Welcome Ceremony for the Royal Tour at the British Columbia Legislature on September 24, 2016 in Victoria, Canada.
  • Britain's Prince William greets people during a welcome ceremony at the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, September 24, 2016.
  • Britain's Prince William, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge leave the Victoria Parliament Buildings for the start of their eight day royal tour to Canada in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, September 24, 2016.
  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge after arriving by sea plane at the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre during their Royal Tour of Canada on September 25, 2016 in Vancouver, Canada.
  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau arrive to the Immigrant Services Society, a charitable organisation that provides targeted programs for refugees, women, children and youth, during their Royal Tour of Canada on September 25, 2016 in Vancouver, Canada.
  • Prince William the Duke of Cambridge and Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge, receive teddy bears from five-year-old Hailey Cain during a tour of Sheway, a centre that provides support for native women, in Vancouver, British Columbia on September 25, 2016.
  • Prince William, Duke of Cambridge tickles a baby during a tour of Sheway, a centre that provides support for native women in Vancouver, British Columbia on September 25, 2016.
  • Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leave the Immigrant Services Society, a charitable organisation that provides targeted programs for refugees, women, children and youth, during their Royal Tour of Canada on September 25, 2016 in Vancouver, Canada.
  • Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, react during a visit to the Immigrant Services Society in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, September 25, 2016.
  • Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, meet with a family from Syria during a visit to the Immigrant Services Society in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, September 25, 2016.
  • Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Britain's Prince William (2nd R) speak to Canadian Olympic athletes during an event in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, September 25, 2016.
  • (L-R) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Prince William the Duke of Cambridge, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, and Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge take a walk at the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, in Vancouver, British Columbia on September 25, 2016.
  • Prince William the Duke of Cambridge (L) pets Vancouver Police service dog, Griffin, as he meets his handler Constable, Geoff Goodall, during a visit to the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, in Vancouver, British Columbia on September 25, 2016.
  • Prince William the Duke and Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge have a cup of tea alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a roundtable discussion at the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, in Vancouver, British Columbia on September 25, 2016.
  • Prince William the Duke of Cambridge meets members of the Vancouver Fire Department during a visit to the Kitsilano Coast Guard station in Vancouver, British Columbia on September 25, 2016.
  • Prince William the Duke of Cambridge meets members of Vancouver Fire Rescue during a visit to the Kitsilano Coast Guard station in Vancouver, British Columbia on September 25, 2016.
  • Prince William, Duke of Cambridge meets members of the public as he visits the Canadian Coast Guard and Vancouver First Responders Event at Kitsilano Coastguard Station on September 25, 2016 in Vancouver, Canada.
  • Prince William and his wife Kate walk with British Columbia premier Christy Clark (2nd R) and a conservation officer during a tour of the Great Bear Rainforest in Bella Bella, British Columbia on September 26, 2016.
  • The royal couple remove a rain jacket to unveil a plaque in the Great Bear rainforest in Bella Bella.
  • They receive canoe paddles after unveiling the plaque.
  • Prince William and his wife Kate walk through the Great Bear rainforest in Bella Bella.
  • Prince William and his wife Kate watch women's volleyball at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in Kelowna, British Columbia on September 27, 2016.
  • Prince William and his wife Kate are presented with sport shirts during the visit to the university.
  • Prince William speaks to the volleyball team.
  • Prince William and his wife Kate sample food during the Taste of British Columbia event at Mission Hill winery in Kelowna on September 27, 2016.
  • Prince William tries sushi during the Taste of British Columbia event.
  • Prince William and his wife Kate pose with children during the Taste of British Columbia event.
  • Prince William cuts grapes from the vine at Mission Hill winery.
  • Prince William and his wife Kate arrive in Whitehorse, Yukon on September 27, 2016.
  • Prince William and his wife Kate with Doug Bell, who sent a telegram at the MacBride Museum in Whitehorse on September 28, 2016.
  • The royal couple leave the MacBride Museum.
  • Prince William and his wife Kate watch aboriginal dancers perform during a ceremony in Carcross, Yukon on September 28, 2016.
  • Prince William paints a totem pole.
  • Prince William and his wife Kate are presented an eagle feather by aboriginal children.
  • Prince William and his wife Kate tour a mountain bike course in Carcross on September 28, 2016.
  • Prince William and his wife Kate tour a steam locomotive in Carcross on September 28, 2016.
  • Prince William, his wife Kate, Prince George and Princess Charlotte arrive at a children's party at Government House in Victoria, British Columbia on September 29, 2016.
  • Prince William and his wife Kate canoe during a visit to Haida Gwaii in Skidegate, British Columbia, on September 30, 2016.
  • Prince William and his wife Kate fish in Skidegate.
  • Prince William and his wife Kate visit the Haida Heritage Centre and Museum at Kaay Llnagaay in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia on September 30, 2016.
  • Prince William and his wife Kate help lower the sail on a tall ship in Victoria, British Columbia on October 1, 2016.
  • The royal couple disembark from the tall ship after lowering sail.
  • A man wearing a hat in a row boat waits for the tall ship carrying Prince William and his wife Kate in the harbour in Victoria, British Columbia on October 1, 2016.
  • Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte arrive to board a floatplane for their official departure from Canada in Victoria, British Columbia, on October 1, 2016.

More about

Kate Middleton
Purchase this article for republication.

SERVICES