The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, attended a service of Morning Prayer at St Mary’s Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, in the middle of an official tour to Singapore, Malaysia and India. The royal tour to Asia was made at the request of the British government to strengthen and celebrate ties between the UK and the three countries ahead of next year’s meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government in London (CHOGM).
This is the highest-level British visit to Malaysia since Queen Elizabeth II in 1998. On that occasion, the Queen unveiled a plaque in St Mary’s Cathedral, and Archbishop Moon Hing this weekend pointed it out to the latest royal visitors.
The royal visit to Malaysia will come to an end tomorrow in Penang – previously known as Prince of Wales Island – and its capital city Georgetown. At a dinner on Friday, Prince Charles joked: “I gather that Penang was known for many years as Prince of Wales Island and the fact that it isn’t the case any longer, I promise I will not take personally - although my grandson, George, may possibly be cheered in due course by the name of its capital!”
Prince Charles made his comments before severe flooding caused at least seven deaths in Penang this weekend. Heavy rain has caused Flash floods in Penang, Kedah and Perak; forcing 10,000 people in the three states to be evacuated to nearly 90 relief centres. The royal visit to Penang is expected to go ahead at this stage, but the British High Commission said that it is being kept under review.
The tour began in Singapore, where the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall met leaders from Singapore’s ten national religions. In a statement, Clarence House, the Prince’s official residence and office, said that this part of the visit would “highlight Singapore’s innovative approach to community cohesion.”
The prince visited Commonwealth War Grave cemeteries in both Singapore and Malaysia.
The royal couple’s visit to Malaysia included events to celebrate the Commonwealth, in the run-up to CHOGM summits in the UK next year and Malaysia in 2020. They will conclude their tour in India “to celebrate the UK / India Year of Culture,” Clarence House said.
Members of St Mary’s congregation were pleased with the visit. Writing on the Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia’s Facebook page, one described it as a “great honour”. Another said it was “memorable indeed” and another described it as a “great occasion.”
St Mary’s Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur is the mother church of the Diocese of West Malaysia, part of the Anglican Province of South East Asia.