Page last updated at 18:24 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 19:24 UK

Prince to press ahead with tour

Prince  Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall
The duchess will return home before the prince continues to Indonesia

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are to go ahead with a tour of Japan and Brunei despite the growing economic turmoil.

The six-day trip, which will take place later this month, is intended to highlight trade links, the environment and relations between different faiths.

Clarence House said the government wanted the tour to go ahead.

The Duchess of Cornwall is to return home - at her husband's expense - before he continues to Indonesia.

Clarence House said there would be about 15 people in the royal party - down by about six or seven on normal.

A spokesman for the royal couple said the government wanted the tour to go ahead "given the importance of the strategic priorities which it is going to address."

The spokesman said: "Clearly the trip takes place against the backdrop of considerable international turmoil.

"I just wanted to say the prince and the duchess are, of course, acutely conscious of the cost of these visits, but as ever they are more than ready to do their duty at the request of the government."

Anniversary

Charles and Camilla will visit Japan for four days from 27 October, and then travel on to Brunei for two days, before the prince journeys alone to Indonesia for four days.

The BBC's royal correspondent Peter Hunt said officials said Indonesia will be an arduous trip and the duchess, who had a hysterectomy last year, is not as robust as the prince.

The tour of Japan is to mark the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the country and the UK, and will focus on environmental sustainability, including new technologies, education and heritage.

Clarence House said: "The UK is the leading destination for Japanese investment in Europe, and Japan is the largest export market for British goods and services after the United States and Europe."

The royal couple's visit to Brunei will cover a range of themes including highlighting educational links and the protection of the Borneo rainforest.

During his trip to Indonesia Prince Charles is also due to give a lecture on climate change.


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