The Duke of Kent is visiting Uganda next week to celebrate the country’s 50th independence anniversary. This is his first visit since 1962, when he delivered the country’s independence on behalf of the Queen.
There is a learned piece by Hugo Vickers on the subject posted on the Ugandan newspaper site New Vision, including this fascinating detail:
Apollo Milton Obote, the country’s first executive prime minister, told Coutts that he expected the Queen to deliver independence in person. He was disappointed that she was sending the Duke of Kent since he was “a young man and totally unknown in Uganda”.
If the Queen could not come, Obote wanted either the Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother or Princess Margaret. But the Duke was not available, the Queen Mother said it was a suitable task for her and Princess Margaret was representing the Queen at independence celebrations in Jamaica.
Coutts informed Obote that it was the Queen who had personally chosen her cousin to represent her. The Duke of Kent had successfully represented the Queen at independence ceremonies in Sierra Leone the year before.
Obote discussed the issue with other politicians and they accepted the Duke. Even then, he hoped the Queen Mother might come to open Mulago Hospital, but was told that it was not possible because of diplomatic reasons. The Duchess of Kent opened the hospital.