Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, is spending Easter in Kenya to attend the wedding of his rumoured former girlfriend Jessica Craig while his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge stays at home with their children.
In an announcement, Kensington Palace revealed that William would be making a “private” four-day visit to Africa, during which he would spend time on the wildlife reserve where he got engaged to Kate Middleton in 2010.
However, the official announcement of the Duke’s trip made no mention 34-year-old Jecca’s wedding on Saturday when she will marry conservationist Professor Jonathan Baillie inside the family’s 55,000 acre estate, Lewa, run by her father Ian Craig.
The prince has known the Craig family since he travelled to their wildlife conservancy, nestled in the shadow of Mount Kenya, during his gap year after Eton.
Jecca’s father, Ian, has become something of a father figure to William over the years and both men share a passion for wildlife and conservation.
At one point during their early friendship William and Jecca were linked romantically and were even said to have staged a pretend engagement. This speculation led the protective prince to make a rare public statement through his press office, in which he denied that they were anything other than friends.
The Duke has remained so close to the Craig family that when Jecca’s brother got married in 2008, the Duke missed his cousin Peter Phillips’ wedding on the same day to attend the event.
When the Duke arrives today (Thursday 24 March), at the request of the Foreign Office to “deepen relations between the two countries”, he will meet Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to discuss a broad range of topics including defence and security, and conservation.
“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.” – Kensington Palace
While he is paying for the flights himself, he will be taking at least three tax-payer funded Scotland Yard police protection officers with him.
The Duke, who is President of United For Wildlife, will spend the rest of the day seeing some of the conservation and anti-poaching initiatives in Kenya first hand including spending time with rangers to find out more about their fight against rhino poachers.
Tusk Trust, which has William as its Royal Patron, supports this conservation work with the Duke watching vets in the field fit radio tracking collars to elephants to help with research and conservation.