In a scene of profound contemplation, the Monarch, King Charles, perused a profoundly evocative photograph during a gathering at Buckingham Palace on a recent Tuesday.
The image depicted the renowned Kenyan sanctuary, Treetops, where his late mother received the news of her ascension to the throne, following the demise of her father, King George VI, on the 6th of February, 1952.
As King Charles remarked on the historical significance of the place, musing that it “no longer graces our world,” his consort, Queen Camilla, inquired about the fate of the wooden edifice, stating, “Has it, regrettably, met its demise? Alas, it has crumbled.”
The King, with an air of sorrow, responded, “Indeed, it is a great lament.”
Queen Camilla, echoing the sentiment, added, “A truly melancholic event. A locale of great renown. Its disappearance saddens our hearts.”
The King, attempting to infuse a note of levity, observed, “One can only imagine the exhilaration of ascending that towering structure.”
Back in 1952, when she was still Princess Elizabeth, and her consort, the Duke of Edinburgh, spent the night at Treetops, a lodge nestled deep within Aberdare National Park. It was on the 5th of February, 1952, when the news of King George VI's passing reached them in the early hours.
Upon their return to the nearby Sagana Lodge, a gift from the Kenyan people, it fell to Philip to deliver the sorrowful tidings to his wife.
Historical accounts suggest that the original structure met a fiery demise a few years after Queen Elizabeth's visit, a period marked by national unrest, known as the Mau Mau uprising, which ultimately culminated in Kenya's independence from the United Kingdom. In 1957, a new iteration of the lodge emerged near the same watering hole. However, due to a precipitous decline in tourism amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the establishment regrettably shuttered its doors in October 2021.
King Charles and Queen Camilla's reflections on Treetops transpired as they hosted a reception at the palace in anticipation of their forthcoming sojourn to Kenya. This five-day venture will begin next week, and the royal couple will play host to dignitaries from the realms of politics, the creative arts, commerce, and civil society. Notable attendees include Gurinder Chadha, the director of the cinematic masterpiece “Bend It Like Beckham,” and the former luminary of EastEnders, Nitin Ganatra.
During this impending state visit to the East African nation, marking his inaugural official visit to a Commonwealth nation as King, Charles intends to address the “poignant facets” embedded within the shared annals of the United Kingdom and Kenya.
The imminent tour of Charles and Camilla, slated to commence next Monday, arises from the gracious invitation extended by Kenyan President William Ruto, as Kenya celebrates the six-decade milestone of its emancipation from British colonial rule.