He has many thrones at home. But none quite like this.
And King Charles looked delighted when eco-campaigners unveiled one they had made especially for him out of recycled plastics today at Mombassa’s Nyali beach on the third day of his state visit to Kenya.
The non-profit organisation, Flipflopi use everything from plastic bottles to, well, flip flops to upcycle a variety of remarkable into heritage products – even creating a seaworthy seven-tonne traditional sailing dhow which was made entirely from waste found on the beach.
It took them a month to fashion the intricate traditional Swahili chair in the King’s honour in honour of his environmental legacy, which was unveiled to him on the visit.
Co-founder Dipesh Pabari highlighted Charles’ campaigning about plastics in the ocean which began more than 50 years ago, at a time when his eco-campaigning was considered somewhat eccentric.
King Charles was also joined by Queen Camilla during a visit to Mtongwe Naval Base in Mombasa, Kenya
‘In fact he was utterly visionary and absolutely right,’ he said.
The throne incorporated the many influences of Swahili culture with detailed cutouts made from recycled bottle tops and other plastic detritus that would once have been ivory.
The king also chatted with Early Birds Bands, a community organisation that promotes marine conservation on Nyali beach including clean-up events.
And he was awarded a special badge in honour of his work as a ‘Tide Turner Warrior’ by the Unite Nation’s Tide Turners youth movement.
King Charles was later joined by Queen Camilla as they visited the Mtongwe Naval Base in Mombasa today.
The royals are visiting Kenya at the invitation of Kenyan President William Ruto to celebrate the relationship between the two countries.
Charles and Camilla, who sported stylish shades during the outing, appeared in great spirits as they witnessed the Kenya Marines being trained by the Royal Marines.
Camilla oozed sophistication in a longline white shirt dress which she paired with matching trousers and a cream handbag.
Representatives from a non-profit organisation called Flipflopi, gifted Charles a throne (pictured) made out of recycled plastics today
Charles looked typically dapper in a cream suit which he paired with a white shirt and a navy and red striped tie.
The King met members of the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Tide Turners, a global youth movement created to educate young people about plastic marine pollution and encourage them to do their bit to protect the environment.
He also greeted representatives from Baus Taka Enterprise, a women and youth-led organisation which uses technology to improve marine conservation efforts.
Joanne Mirraho, 17, prompted cheers from her fellow Girl Guides when she declared her affections for the King, saying ‘I love you!’
As Charles was presented with a ‘Plastic Tide Turners’ scarf and a Kenyan Scouts badge, in honour of his position as a lifelong environmentalist, the schoolgirl shook hands with the King.
Speaking afterwards she said: ‘I told the King I love him because it’s generally how I feel.
‘He is a champion of the planet, a good man and someone we can look up to. He said we should be very proud of the work we are doing to try and protect our environment and that meant such a lot.’
Fellow guider Dephence Mrubde said the King’s visit would held ‘amplify the message’ of the Girl Guides and Kenyan Scouts and their environmental programmes.
King Charles helped Camilla as they disembarked the Admiral’s Barge during their visit to Mtongwe Naval Base
Charles appeared to be in high spirits when members of Flipflop presented him with an eco-friendly throne
She said: ‘This is a great day for us and all the guides and scouts in Kenya. The King is definitely someone young people can look up to.
‘We have looked at his speeches and his message, that we as young people have a responsibility to protect the planet for future generations.’
Patrick Nyakundi, a Rover Scout with the Kenyan Scouts, showed the king around several stalls positioned on the sweltering beach in Mombasa.
Showing Charles to a turtle pen on the beach where local conservationists have introduced a protection programme.
He said: ‘The King was very interested in hearing how we are combining local knowledge and the passion of young people to help preserve our wildlife and environment.
‘It’s been a great pleasure to have the opportunity to work with him today and something we can use to spread our message.’
The royals are visiting Kenya at the invitation of Kenyan President William Ruto to celebrate the relationship between the two countries
The King also met representatives from Baus Taka Enterprise, a women and youth led enterprise that uses technology to enhance marine conservation efforts; and Dipesh Pabari and Ali Skanda, who told him how their non-profit organisation Flipflopi had created the world’s first sailing dhow out of recycled plastic and 30,000 discarded flip flops. They also presented a traditional Swahili chair – crafted from recycled plastic – as thanks for a £700,000 grant their organisation received from the UK government, enabling them to collect up to 15 tonnes of plastic a month and run their own recycling factory. The chair will go to the British High Commission in Kenya.
‘We really wanted to show a token of our gratitude to the UK government because the truth of it is, we wouldn’t be where we are today without them,’ said Mr Pabari. ‘His Majesty was thrilled that so many small organisations are trying to create solutions to plastic waste. He has been vocal about this since the 1970s; that’s quite visionary.’
Next, the King met medical student Zainab Mahmoud, 23, whose company Twende Green Ecocycle makes lockable school desks out of recycled plastic, and who won this year’s Mombasa Plastics Prize, which supports young entrepreneurs to find solutions to plastic pollution.
‘His Majesty congratulated me and said he encourages us to continue,’ said Zainab, who is set to supply her desks, which are 20% cheaper than wooden ones, to Kenyan schools.
Camilla oozed sophistication in a longline white shirt dress which she paired with matching trousers
Charles looked typically dapper in a cream suit which he paired with a white shirt and a navy and red striped tie
The King also recalled his own Royal Marines training – including navigating an underwater tunnel nicknamed ‘the Sheep Dip’ – as he watched Kenyan marines stage an amphibious beach landing complete with gunfire and smoke grenades.
The marines, who are being trained by the Royal Marines as well as the US Marine Corps, are part of a five-year programme to create a marine corps which can help combat the al Qaeda-inspired al-Shabaab on the Somali border.
The King and Queen, who are on the third day of their state visit, watched as 18 Kenyan marines in inflatable boats landed on a beach at Mtongwe naval base near Mombasa where they laid down a barrage of fire – blanks only – from their M4 carbines after coming under attack from a defensive position on the beach.
After they managed to overwhelm the enemy, Captain Sam Powell of 40 Commando, who provided the commentary as the sound of gunfire and the smell of cordite filled the air, told the King and Queen: ‘Now they have fought through the position they will move into the re-org [correct] where they will conduct a headcount of their marines.’
For the King, who wore his Royal Marines ties in his role as their Captain General, the exercise brought back memories of 1974 when as Prince of Wales he did part of the Royal Marines all arms course in Lympstone while qualifying as a helicopter pilot with the Royal Navy.
He told one Kenyan marine: ‘Have the Royal Marines put you through quite a lot? Have they put you through as assault course? They are quite testing!’
Queen Camilla and King Charles visited the Mtongwe Naval Base aboard the Admiral’s Barge to meet members of the Royal Marines and Kenyan Marines
The Kind and Queen were welcomed by Kenyan President William Ruto and First Lady Rachel Ruto
He asked another if they had intercepted any drug smugglers. ‘You know exactly what to do with them!’
Captain Powell, who spoke to the King after the training exercise, which was there to highlight defence collaboration between Britain and Kenya, said: ‘We talked about Lympstone and the all arms course. The King’s done part of that course before. He was reminiscing about the sheep dip, which is part of the endurance course. It is essentially a submerged tunnel that you dive through and underneath and then come out the other side. So you have to hold your breath as you go underneath it.’
The King and Queen, who was wearing an Anna Valentine pink chiffon tunic with white palazzo trousers, arrived the training exercise by boat before walking up the gangway. During the formal welcome ceremony the King, wearing a pair of trendy sunglass, stood on a dais with Kenya’s president William Ruto before inspecting a guard of honour from the Kenyan navy.
After the exercise they spoke to the families of Kenyan military personnel. Talking to one woman about how long her husband has been in the navy, he said: ‘Has he been there for some years?’ Thirty-four, she replied. ‘That’s pretty good!’ said the King. ‘It’s vital to the whole process.’
Charles and Camilla beamed as they were welcomed by President of the Republic of Kenya, William Ruto
The pair appeared in great spirits as they witnessed the Kenya Marines being trained by the Royal Marines
The King also spoke to a Royal Marine instructor, saying: ‘When you get back do you get a nice bit of leave?’
‘I hope so, sir,’ he replied.
The first Kenyan Marine Commando Unit passed out in May after completing basic training which included the use of an obstacle course almost identical to the one at Lympstone.
The British High Commission said at the time: ‘The KCMU will be an elite fighting force with the ability to conduct specialised amphibious operations to weaken and disrupt threats to Kenya, and take the fight to al-Shababb by land and by sea.’
Charles and Camilla travelled aboard the Admiral’s Barge to Mtongwe Naval Base
Charles shook hands as he is welcomed by President of the Republic of Kenya, William Ruto
Camilla, who was later joined by King Charles, watched a herd of orphaned elephants at play at a specialist wildlife centre near Nairobi.
She joked: ‘Is that the naughty corner’ as she pointed at a spot where some of the larger more restless ones were placed.
As she fed orphaned elephant calf Mzinga, one of the centre’s youngest at a year old, she said, ‘They look very content, very happy.’
Camilla was wearing a Liberty cotton elephant and peacock print dress by Fiona Clare with a pair of practical and clearly well-worn brown ankle boots.
As she was introduced to the keepers, many who had worked at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for decades, she said: ‘Everybody knows everybody, that’s so nice.’
A smiling Queen Camilla sheltered under a parasol when she visited Mtongwe Naval Base in Mombasa
The Queen was shown around by Angela Sheldrick, whose mother Dame Daphne founded the orphanage.
She was introduced to head keeper Edwin Lusichi, who has worked at the centre for more than 20 years, and the other keepers, before the baby elephant had a mud bath.
They explained that elephants often indulge in a mud bath to form a layer on their skin to protect them from insects and sunburn.
The King later joined the Queen and they heard about the work of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. The royals watched the baby elephants as they enjoyed their mud baths.
Veteran keeper Edwin added: ‘They really truly never forget. Even after they’ve ‘graduated’ to the wild and will still remember you.
The King met members of the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Tide Turners, a global youth movement created to educate young people about plastic marine pollution and encourage them to do their bit to protect the environment
After their visit to the elephant orphanage, Their Majesties were treated to a private evening safari at the Nairobi National Park.
The couple enjoyed a ‘sunset’ game spotting drive in an open-sided viewing vehicle.
A source said they were overjoyed to see a lion right by their vehicle, as well as crocodile, hippo, ostrich and springbok.
En route out of Narobi National Park, Charles and Camilla also visited the park’s ivory burning site.
The site is a historic location where 12 tonnes of ivory were burnt by the former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi in 1989.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was founded in 1977 by Dame Daphne Sheldrick, in memory of her late husband, the naturalist and founding Warden of Tsavo East National Park, Mr. David Sheldrick.
Earlier in the day, during a solo engagement, Charles sampled popular local food at Nairobi Street Kitchen.
The King ordered a saag paneer kathi roll wrap and butter chicken samosa –and joked how the dishes could ‘blow your head off’.
Thankfully, sous chef Rhoda Asiyo said they had been told by the palace not to make the dishes ‘too spicy’ for the 74-year-old monarch.
She said afterwards: ‘The King was great, very chilled out. There were less formalities than I thought. I was nervous before knowing he would be eating our food. Indian food is very popular here in Kenya. The King ordered a favourite dish that flies off the shelves.’
The visit was designed to celebrate the Kenyan cultural and creative scene. His Majesty met young creatives including artisans, fashion designers, musicians and artists supported by grants from the British Council.
The King toured a pop-up exhibition with seven booths showcasing Kenyan creative products, including graphic novels and sustainable fish leather bags.
Nthenya Mwendwa, owner of The Label Saba, told him how she had gone on to become the only African designer to have products featuring at the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys, by following a ‘purely sustainable model’.
She said: ‘The King was very impressed, he said he was always interested in learning from different industries and how we can learn from each other, it was a really great experience meeting him.’