Omid Scobie slams Buckingham Palace for Kenyan red carpets11/03/2023
Meghan Markle’s biographer Omid Scobie slams Buckingham Palace for allowing King Charles and Queen Camilla to walk on red carpets laid over soil in Kenya
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s favoured royal reporter Omid Scobie today criticised the decision to roll out the red carpet in Kenya for the King and Queen’s state visit this week – claiming it made them look ‘out of touch’.
Mr Scobie, who has been friendly with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, shared an image of Charles and Camilla walking on red carpet instead of mud in the Nairobi National Park on Wednesday.
Mr Scobie claimed it made the royals look ‘pretty ridiculous’. While he admitted it may have been the decision of their Kenyan hosts – not the royals – he insisted that Buckingham Palace aides could and should have stopped it.
His comments came after the Prince and Princess of Wales’ tour of the Caribbean last year, dominated by Britain’s colonial legacy, protests and some photo foul-ups. On one occasion in Jamaica, William and Kate were caught up in a row over a deeply unfortunate picture of them shaking hands with children through a wire fence.
Omid Scobie, who criticised the Wales’ at the time, today tweeted the red carpet image from Kenya and questioned the ‘optics’ for the King and Queen, declaring: ‘Even if this was a choice made by the hosts (and it probably was), the optics of the King and Queen walking on a red carpet to avoid soil at Nairobi National Park are pretty ridiculous and out of touch. A clued up Palace aide could have easily asked for it to be removed’.
He added: ‘I’ve been on many royal visits all over the world and seen aides run around requesting last minute tweaks or changes before royals arrive at engagements (including red carpets that have been deemed unnecessary) so there is precedent for this’.
MailOnline has asked Buckingham Palace to comment.
Omid Scobie shared this picture of the King and Queen on a red carpet at the Nairobi National Park, claiming it made the couple look ‘pretty ridiculous and out of touch’
Mr Scobie said that the Palace should have intervened – as had happened on other royal visits
Queen Camilla in hiking boots while feeding milk to an orphaned elephant in the same trip to the Nairobi National Park on Wednesday, with no red carpet
The Cambridges greeting young Jamaican fans through a fence last year, which royal experts was an avoidable error by planners that should have been avoided at all costs
ITV Royal Editor Chris Ship said that on the same visit to the Nairobi National Park, the Queen donned hiking boots and got the chance to bottle-feed orphaned baby elephants at a sanctuary.
He tweeted Mr Scobie and said: ‘The Kenyans were very keen on red carpets. I saw more of them here than on any other royal tour. But otherwise agree, this looks odd’.
The four-day trip to Kenya, which ended today, has been viewed as a success. Whereas Kate and William’s Caribbean trip was viewed as one that required lessons to be learned after a series of photo opportunity blunders and protests.
The King and Queen have used their trip to east Africa to address the ‘painful’ legacy of Empire head on.
This week he told the Kenyan people of his ‘greatest sorrow and deepest regret’ at Britain’s ‘abhorrent and unjustifiable acts of violence’ during the Colonial era.
In a keynote speech that went far further than many expected amid calls for an apology over government abuses under his late mother’s reign, King Charles said there was ‘no excuse’ for British ’wrongdoings’ in the East African nation, particularly against the Mau Mau rebellion.
Speaking at a state banquet in Nairobi, he told the Kenyan President and 350 guests: ‘It is the intimacy of our shared history that has brought our people together. However, we must also acknowledge the most painful times of our long and complex relationship.
‘The wrongdoings of the past are a cause of the greatest sorrow and the deepest regret. There were abhorrent and unjustifiable acts of violence committed against Kenyans as they waged, as you said at the United Nations, a painful struggle for independence and sovereignty – and for that, there can be no excuse.’
King Charles III (C) walks to the plane before departing from Moi International Airport
King Charles III and President of the Republic of Kenya, William Ruto ahead of witnessing the Kenya Marines demonstrate a covert beach landing in Mombasa
King Charles expressed his ‘greatest sorrow and deepest regret’ for atrocities suffered by Kenyans during their struggle for independence from British colonial rule in a speech given at a banquet on his state visit to Kenya
But he stopped short of making a full apology called for by survivors of that period and local rights groups who are pressing for reparations from the British government
President William Ruto praised Charles for his courage and readiness ‘to shed light on uncomfortable truths that reside in the darker regions of our shared experience’
Charles toasts Kenyan First Lady Rachel Ruto during the State Banquet
Charles continued: ‘In coming back to Kenya, it matters greatly to me that I should deepen my own understanding of these wrongs, and that I meet some of those whose lives and communities were so grievously affected.
‘None of this can change the past. But by addressing our history with honesty and openness we can, perhaps, demonstrate the strength of our friendship today. And, in so doing, we can, I hope, continue to build an ever-closer bond for the years ahead.’
The King stopped short of a direct apology, which carries greater legal culpability, because it is not British government policy to do so.
His words came as President Ruto made an even more strongly-worded address – and hinted at further demands for reparations.
He said Britain and Kenya could not ‘live in denial of history’ and highlighted the ‘displacement, dispossession and disenfranchisement of native Africans, paving the way for a brutal colonialism’.
The president described British attempts to put down the Kenyan people’s fight for independence as ‘monstrous in its cruelty’ and made clear that he felt the £20 million so far paid out by Britain in compensation to victims of torture and repression as inadequate.
‘While there have been efforts to atone for the death, injury and suffering inflicted on Kenyan Africans by the colonial government, much remains to be done in order to achieve full reparations,’ he said.
But he praised the King for his ‘visionary leadership’ on the issue, saying: ‘Your exemplary courage and readiness to shed light on uncomfortable truths that reside in the darker regions of our shared experience are….commendable.
‘This is a highly encouraging first step, under your leadership, to deliver progress beyond tentative and equivocal half measures of past years‘We are therefore confident that, under your visionary leadership, the Kenya-United Kingdom relations will continue to prosper for the benefit of our two countries and peoples. ‘
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