The Prince of Wales delighted royal fans when he entered the ring at the Rafael Trejo Boxing Gym in Havana, joining a group of professional boxers who donned fighting gear. Charles spoke to young and older student boxers at the gym, who took time to coach the prince on hand and foot positioning techniques used during sparring sessions. The prince also immersed himself in the action as he watched students undergo a rigorous boxing training session.
Charles and Camilla arrived to Cuba on Sunday in a historical four-day trip, making them the first royal couple to visit the Communist state since 1959, after the revolution.
On Monday, the royals stopped by the dance school of Cuban ballet star Carlos Acosta, which helps disadvantaged young people from across the region fulfil their artistic potential.
Speaking about the visit, the dancer said: “I think it’s a big, big deal, especially with all the Brexit, the UK is looking for emerging markets and different partnerships and to sort of build bridges with other nations, and Cuba is doing the same, which is really great.”
Mr Acosta was principal guest dancer for seventeen years with the Royal Ballet and performed in front of Charles on numerous occasions.
He added: “From the Cuban perspective it is a time for building bridges, to reach out to the world, and I think also for the UK they are doing the same with this inevitable Brexit going forward, so I think it’s just the perfect fit.”
On Monday evening, Charles and Camilla met Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel and his wife, Lis Cuesta Peraza at the Palacio de la Revolución – the president’s official building.
Camilla was asked to stand with the delegation, as Charles and Mr Diaz Canel sat down for a private bilateral meeting before the royals attended a state-hosted dinner at the President’s residence.
Charles and Camilla’s landmark trip to Cuba garnered mixed reactions from the public, with the Communist state declaring support for Nicolas Maduro’s oppressive regime in Venezuela.
On Monday night, Anthony Stokes, Britain’s ambassador to Cuba, justified the trip despite criticism: “We and the European Union have a very strong policy of engaging with the Cuban government, and we believe that is the right way – not only to talk about the more difficult issues, but also to identify ways we can work together.
“It is a very special moment. Cuba has never seen anything quite like this before. There have been important senior-level visits. President Obama was here in 2016, but a royal visit is something really special.”
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt insisted the trip was a “great example of bold & pragmatic diplomacy”.
Charles and Camilla will visit a British classic car event today and also meet Grammy Award-winning group Buena Vista Social Club at a Havana recording studio today.
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