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Princess Anne flies commercial to Sri Lanka in first royal overseas tour of 2024 - photos

The Princess Royal was joined by her husband Sir Tim Laurence

Princess Anne leaves the plane carrying the Great Britain Olympic team at Heathrow Airport after returning from the Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
10 January 2024
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The Princess Royal has taken a commercial airline flight from London to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka with her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, marking the royal family's first overseas tour of 2024. The couple opted to fly with SriLankan Airlines, which took to social media to welcome the couple onboard. 

Sharing photos of the pair boarding the plane, the airline penned in the caption: "A service fit for a royal! We are delighted to welcome onboard Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal on her journey from London to Colombo on a two-day official visit to mark the 75 years of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and the UK."

View post on Twitter

"It is truly an honour to extend Her Royal Highness and the delegation our inherent Sri Lankan warmth and hospitality, thereby presenting the first taste of our island home through our service," they continued, before thanking the royal for choosing the airline for the journey.  

Princess Anne has flown overseas at the request of the Foreign Office to participate in events connected with the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and the UK. The couple will stay in Sri Lanka for two days until 12 January. 

Princess Anne and Sir Tim Laurence walk to church on Christmas Day© Getty
Princess Anne and Sir Tim will spend two days in Sri Lanka

While there, Anne, who has earned a reputation as the hardest working royal, will undertake engagement and meet with local communities and faith groups in Colombo, the country's capital, the city of Kandy in central Sri Lanka, and Jaffna on the northern tip of the country, the palace said. 

The royal will also sit down with Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and his wife during her trip.  

This isn't the first time Anne has visited the South Asian country. Nearly 30 years ago in 1995, she visited projects set up by Save The Children, a charity she has supported for over 50 years and is patron of. 

Princess Anne in teal outfit© Samir Hussein
Princess Anne's Sri Lanka visit marks the first royal overseas tour of 2024

King Charles has also visited the country on a few occasions, including in 1998 when, as Prince of Wales, he attended the country's 50th anniversary of Independence Day. 

The late Queen Elizabeth II made an official visit to Sri Lanka with her husband, Prince Philip, in 1954, when she famously rewore her coronation gown. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in Sri Lanka© Getty
The late Queen and Philip in Sri Lanka in 1954

Princess Anne's Sri Lanka visit is her second official engagement of this year, having returned to duties on 4 January to attend the Oxford Farming Conference. 

The King and Queen are also set to fly overseas later this year. The couple are expected to visit Canada in May, before flying to Australia, New Zealand and Samoa in October.

As for the Prince and Princess of Wales, they too will be preparing to return to royal duties in the coming week, which comes after the family celebrated Princess Kate's 42nd birthday on Tuesday 9 January. 

WATCH: Kate celebrates her 42nd birthday: A look back at her fashion highlights in 2023

According to HELLO!'s Royal Editor Emily Nash, the couple have a "very packed schedule" between now and Easter. 

WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 09: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Catherine, Princess of Wales attends the traditional Easter Sunday Mattins Service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on April 9, 2023 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)© Max Mumby/Indigo
Princess Kate turned 42 on Tuesday

"They'll be out and about a lot and focusing on two of their key projects - Homewards, for William, and Shaping Us and early childhood for Kate," said Emily. "They'll also be preparing for their first official overseas visit at the request of the Government since taking on their new roles, so there will be a lot of activity going on behind the scenes."

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