Sunday, December 1, 2013

UK royal family thanks Kenyans for animal gifts

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrive with their son Prince George of Cambridge at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace in central London on October 23, 2013. The Samburu community will on Thursday celebrate the birth of Prince George by bestowing a community blessing upon the 3rd in line to the British throne in Samburu County.

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrive with their son Prince George of Cambridge at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace in central London on October 23, 2013. The Samburu community will on Thursday celebrate the birth of Prince George by bestowing a community blessing upon the 3rd in line to the British throne in Samburu County. Photo/AFP 

By JAMES KARIUKI
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Prince William and his wife Catherine have written to Samburu herdsmen, thanking them for donating a fattened calf and a goat to celebrate the birth of their baby, Prince George.

In a carefully-worded letter in Kiswahili, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said they were happy with the gifts which were presented to the British High Commissioner, Dr Christian Turner, last week.

Reports about the royal family’s acceptance of the gifts carried in UK papers said the new parents had formally accepted the presents, considered a great honour in Samburu culture, and thanked the elders for their generosity.

Handed over

During a traditional Samburu ceremony to celebrate the birth of Prince George, elders blessed the animals while women danced. They later handed over the animals to Dr Turner, who had travelled to Wamba on behalf of the royal family for the ceremony.

The Swahili part of the royal letter read: “Kwa niaba ya kijana wetu, George, Catherine na mimi ningependa kuwashukuru nyote sana sana kwa kujitolea kwenu, ukarimu wenu na pia kwa zawadi zenu (On behalf of our son George, Catherine and myself, I would like to thank you very much for the extraordinary honour, generosity and gifts).”

The letter continued in English: “I remember my time with you, the Samburu, with immense happiness and I could not be more grateful to you all for this kindness.

“It gives me great pride and joy to know that George’s ‘pension’ will be herded on land that we love and care deeply for. We only hope that one day, he will be able to come and see them for himself.

“Please accept our immense and deep thanks on this special occasion.

“Asante (Thank you).”

Livestock are a highly valued asset among the pastoral Samburu, who keep them for meat and milk.

Prince William spent time in the community in recent years when he stayed in a log cabin at the the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in the foothills of Mount Kenya, culminating in his engagement to Ms Middleton, whom he later married.

Prince William said after discussions between his representatives and local elders, it was agreed that the royal herd be kept at Lewa until Prince George is old enough to take it over.

There has now been an offer of four heifers to go with the bull, which will be managed by the Northern Rangelands Trust, a non-governmental organisation bringing together 21 community-based wildlife conservancies.

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