UK’s Princess Anne visits British peacekeepers on Cyprus

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Britain’s Princess Anne cast aside the controversy surrounding her nephew Prince Harry and carried on with her royal duties Wednesday by visiting British soldiers serving with a United Nations peacekeeping force on ethnically divided Cyprus.

The princess, who is King Charles III’s sister and the only daughter of the late Queen Elizabeth II, plans to meet with members of the Royal Logistic Corps, the army unit of which she serves as colonel-in-chief, to recognize their service to one of the U.N.’s longest-serving peacekeeping forces.

The peacekeepers invited Anne to visit and planned to lead her on a tour of a section of the U.N.-controlled buffer zone that separates the island nation’s breakaway Turkish Cypriot north from the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south.

The princess will also lay a wreath at a cemetery in the buffer zone where many Commonwealth soldiers who died in conflicts including both world wars are buried.

The visit came the day after Prince Harry’s ghostwritten memoir “Spare” went on sale around the world. The book exposes bitter divides inside the House of Windsor.

Harry, who spent a decade in the British army, claims his relatives were unwelcoming to his wife, Meghan, and accuses members of the royal family, including his stepmother Camilla, of leaking stories to the media to burnish their own reputations.

Buckingham Palace has not commented on any of the allegations, though royal allies have pushed back, largely anonymously.

Earlier Wednesday, Anne met with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades. They discussed climate change-related issues, the energy crisis spurred by Russia’s war in Ukraine and efforts to restart stalled talks to reunify Cyprus, a government statement said.

Anastasiades gifted the princess a silver copy of cup from the 4th century B.C. and a photo album of Cypriots who volunteered to fight with British forces during World War II. Anne reciprocated with a portrait of herself.

The princess also was scheduled to meet with soldiers and their families at Dhekelia Garrison, one of two military bases that the U.K. retained after Cyprus gained independence from British rule in 1960.

Media access during her visit was limited to Anne’s brief meeting with Anastasiades. She did not make any public remarks.

British High Commissioner to Cyprus Irfan Siddiq said in a statement that the visit was “an important opportunity to showcase the strength of the enduring links between our two countries.”

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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