Chile receives its fair share of high-profile visitors, from heads of state, to world famous rock musicians to Hollywood movie stars. Rarely, though, does the country play host to true royalty, much less to a key member of Great Britain's House of Windsor.
On Monday, Jan. 22, Chile will welcome a very special guest: Her Royal Highness Princess Anne. The 56-year-old Princess Royal, as she is officially called, is the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh. The couple's other three children are Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. Princess Anne plans to spend three days in Chile. During this time she will make a whirlwind tour of the country. Starting in Falkland Islands on Jan 12 since Monday Jan 15 she will fly to Antarctica, the Princess Royal will make stops in Punta Arenas (Region XII), Viña del Mar and Valparaiso (Region V), and Santiago. "She's coming as a gesture of goodwill in terms of fostering relations with Chile, which are already very good, at least from the U.K. point of view, and I think from the Chilean point of view as well," British Embassy press attaché Mariela Vallejos told the Santiago Times. In Punta Arenas, Princess Anne plans to visit the Chilean Antarctic Institute. She has also been invited by the Chilean Navy to visit the Muñoz Gamero, a 19th century English commercial clipper ÃÂ¢€" originally called the County of Peebles ÃÂ¢€" that was grounded in the area years ago. The Princess, furthermore, will visit with members of Punta Arenas' resident Anglo-Chilean community. "Here there is an Anglo-Chilean community that goes back quite a while," according to John Rees, the British Embassy's honorary consul in Punta Arenas. "The community has its origins in the old sheep ranches." On Tuesday Jan. 23, Princess Anne will have a chance to meet with President Michelle Bachelet in Viña del Mar's Cerro Castillo. The Princess Royal's stay in Region V will also include a stop in Valparaiso, where she will visit a non-government organization (NGO) called Paicabí. The NGO, which receives substantial support from the British Embassy in Chile, works directly with abused children, an issue of particular interest to Princess Anne. Since 1970 the Princess has presided over the international organization Save the Children. "She's been doing a lot of work with underprivileged children around the world," said Vallejos. "In that context, the Embassy wants to show her some of the work it is doing with local NGOs." On Wednesday Jan. 24, Princess Anne heads to Santiago, where she will visit the new headquarters of the 14th Firefighters Company, located in Providencia. Known as the "English Station," the structure was built only recently. In fact, Anne's brother Edward laid the firehouse's ceremonial first stone during a 2005 visit to Chile. Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise Laurence was born in London on Aug. 15, 1950. An accomplished equestrian, she was named the BBC's 1971 Sports Personality of the Year and later participated in the 1976 Olympic Games, held in Montreal, Canada. She has been married twice, first to Mark Phillips, a lieutenant and later captain in the Queen's Dragoon Guards, and currently to Timothy Laurence, now a real admiral in the British Royal Navy. With her first husband, the Princess had two children, Peter Phillips, born in 1977, and Zana Phillips, born in 1981. Neither carry an aristocratic title. By Benjamin Witte The Santiago Times