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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive in Copenhagen for first joint humanitarian mission

By Maysa Rawi

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are greeted by Denmark's Crown Princess Mary and Prince Frederik as they arrive in Copenhagen to support Unicef's East Africa appeal

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge landed in Copenhagen today to visit a famine relief depot.

On their arrival, they were greeted by the Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark ahead of the trip to view the effort to distribute food and medical supplies to east Africa.

The couple were offered a taste of a special high-protein peanut paste which is sent to malnourished children in Africa.

They were given a briefing on the crisis threatening the region and given details on nutrition and food for people in the area.

The duke took a fingerful of the paste before passing it on to the duchess, who declined to taste it and passed it over to Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary, who accompanied them on the visit.

It is likely to be a bitter-sweet journey as it was just over a year ago that William arranged a romantic stay in a secluded log cabin on Mount Kenya, East Africa, so he could carry out his carefully planned proposal.

It's no wonder then the area is close to their hearts as William and Kate are to send off a relief flight loaded with aid as they take part in their first joint humanitarian mission.

Famine was declared in Somalia just three months ago after the worst drought in 60 years hit the areas surrounding where the royal couple holidayed.

The couple will tour a British Airways Boeing 747 before it leaves for the stricken region.

Their visit to the airport will follow their visit to Unicef's warehouse in the city with the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark.

Kate, pictured with Princess Mary, made a statement in a red Seventies-inspired coat and knee-high boots

The aircraft will be laden with 45 tonnes of aid, including emergency medical supplies.

Unicef UK's executive director David Bull said: 'We know that when children are malnourished their immune systems are weakened and they become very susceptible to life threatening diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea. We need to help these children urgently.

'The supplies being packed on this plane will help Unicef to save these children's lives.'

Thousands in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti have already died following a daily struggle for food, medicine and water and the lives of 320,000 children are currently at risk from sheer starvation.

William asked Kate to marry him in the surrounds of the beautiful Lake Rutundu while on holiday at the nearby Lewa Downs wildlife sanctuary.

Prince William has in the past described Africa as a place close to his heart

Six months after their wedding the royal couple must now be tinged with sadness when remembering the place and the moment they took their first step towards being wed.

It is a fact that cannot fail to impress on the couple today as they view the effort to help those in need and assist Unicef workers in packing emergency life-saving supplies.

The Duke in particular may feel a sharpened sadness for the current crisis; he has in the past described Africa as a place close to his heart.

During his gap year in 2001 he spent over three months learning about Africa's wildlife and environment while visiting a number of countries.

The couple will the Unicef's warehouse in the city with the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark

He also went on his first joint overseas engagement to Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa with his brother Prince Harry in June last year.

The brothers' visit was on behalf of the Football Association (FA), of which the Duke is president, in support of its bid to host the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

They are also both patrons of Tusk Trust and Sentebale and in 2008 trekked through the wilds of Africa to raise thousands for Sentebale.

The Unicef visit is perhaps also likely to lead to speculation that the Duchess might consider making African famine relief one of the causes she wants to support in her working life.

Severe food shortages in East Africa are affecting more than 13 million people and the royal party hope to maintain global attention on the crisis, which is worsening with more areas expected to be declared as 'in famine' over the next few months.

Unicef's emergency supply centre in Copenhagen is a worldwide co-ordination centre for nutrition and other emergency supplies reaching children in crisis around the world.



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