Duchess of Edinburgh makes unannounced visit to Iraq

Friday, May 26, 2023

BAGHDAD: The Duchess of Edinburgh travelled to Iraq this week, meeting politicians and feminist activists in a rare visit by a British royal to the war-scarred country, Iraq’s presidency said.

The last time a British royal visited Iraq was in 2006 when the late Prince Philip visited a base for British troops deployed to Iraq as part of the US-led invasion three years earlier.Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, spent two days in Baghdad, where she met President Abdul Latif Rashid and his wife Shanaz Ibrahim Ahmed, the Iraqi presidency said in a statement.

The visit by the wife of King Charles’ youngest brother Edward was done in secret and ended on Tuesday.The Iraqi presidency said the duchess delivered a written message from King Charles III—who had himself visited Iraq in 2004. She also met Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani.

The duchess delivered a speech at a conference on women’s rights organised by the British embassy in Baghdad, during which she met representatives of women’s rights groups, Buckingham Palace said Tuesday. King Charles III in March awarded Edward the title of Duke of Edinburgh, which was previously held by their father Prince Philip. Iraq remains traumatised from the years of war, occupation and bloody sectarian turmoil that followed the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.