Prime Minister (PM) James Marape has expressed Papua New Guinea’s solidarity with King Charles III as the monarch begins his cancer treatment.
The PM expressed this solidarity following the official announcement from Buckingham Palace earlier this week concerning the King’s health.
“King Charles has a long and personal relationship with Papua New Guinea, hence the thoughts and prayers of all our people are with him at this time,” Marape affirmed.
“Papua New Guinea remains united in its support for King Charles III during this challenging time, reflecting on the enduring relationship that has been nurtured over decades between the country and the British monarchy.”
The PM recounted in a statement that King Charles’s deep-rooted connection with the nation, highlighting his multiple visits and significant engagements throughout the years.
“He has already made four visits to our country, with the fifth planned for September 16, 2025, as we celebrate 50 years of independence.”
Reflecting on the King’s first visit in 1966 as an 18-year-old student from Australia, Marape shared that King Charles, who was then a Prince, visited the country and slept in a typical thatched-roof house in Popondetta as part of a student exchange program.
Moreover, in 1975, at the age of 27, Prince Charles represented Queen Elizabeth to officiate the Independence of Papua New Guinea. This momentous occasion marked the transition from Australian rule to the birth of a new sovereign nation.
“He (King Charles) joined in the celebrations, witnessing the lowering of the Australian flag and the hoisting of the new Papua New Guinean flag for the first time.”
In 1984, the then-Prince revisited to inaugurate Papua New Guinea’s new Parliament House at Waigani, further cementing the bond between the two countries.
“Today, it stands as a proud testament to the vibrancy of the democratic system of government we have inherited from Britain,” the PM stated.
Meanwhile, during his most recent visit in 2012, at the age of 64, the then Prince represented the Queen during her Diamond Jubilee celebrations, underscoring his ongoing commitment to the country.
“As can be seen, King Charles has been a part of our journey as a sovereign nation since 1975, and we have come to love and cherish him, just as we have loved and cherished his mother, our late Queen, over her long reign.”
“There is no doubt the monarch has a soft spot for us as a people. His Majesty still holds dear his times spent in our country, as I noted when he accorded me the honour of meeting him in London in 2022, during the burial of his mother, our late Queen.”
“In our meeting at Buckingham Palace, I extended an invitation to His Majesty to attend Papua New Guinea’s 50th independence anniversary celebrations in 2025, an invitation he graciously accepted.”