When the British royalty visited 'Pearl of Africa'

Monday May 17 2021
British royals.

British royals Prince Philip (third left) and Queen Elizabeth (second right) in a past visit to Uganda. PHOTO | FILE


Members of the British Royal Family have made several visits to Uganda on both official and private tours. When Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh came to Uganda to attend the bi-annual Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2007, she was making her second visit while it was the third for Prince Philip.

Prince Philip died on April 9, 2021.

Here are some of the visits of the British Royal Family to Uganda from records available at the Uganda National Archives and at the Makerere University main library in Kampala.

Queen Elizabeth’s first visit to Uganda was a sad and short one, when she made a stop-over at Entebbe Airport from Kenya in 1952 with The Duke of Edinburgh on their way to Britain when her father died, and her eventual accession as Queen of England at the age of 25.

The Princess and her husband had flown from Heathrow to Kenya on January 31, 1952. They were seen off by the King George VI, too ill with lung cancer to make the tour himself.

The young couple stayed at Kenya's Treetops Hotel in Aberdare National Park. King George died on February 6, 1952, and Prince Philip broke the news to Princess Elizabeth the following day.


Under the headline, "Her Majesty At Entebbe", the Uganda Herald reported on February 9, 1952 on the front page that, “Her Majesty, The Queen of England, alighted from the Dakota aircraft 'Sagana' at Entebbe Airport on Wednesday evening on her sad journey back to the United Kingdom.”

“Strict secrecy was kept regarding the visit of Her Majesty to Uganda,” the Uganda Herald reported. “Entebbe Airport was closed and cordoned off by police.

Opening Owen Falls Dam

“Uganda Welcomes Her Majesty and The Duke,” was the lead story of the Uganda Herald’s edition of April 29, 1954 that read: “In spite of the gloomy forecast and a heavy storm in the early morning, the sun smiled down upon Entebbe Airport when Her Gracious Majesty Queen Elizabeth II set foot for the second time (to open the Owen Falls Hydro-Electric Scheme)

Prince Philip accompanied the Queen on her commonwealth tours and state visits, as well as on public engagements. According to Buckingham Palace, he visited Uganda in 1964, but it does not give details of his tour.

They were in Uganda for a State Visit that included the Opening Ceremony of CHOGM on November 23, 2007.