With speculation rife in Germany about the UK’s imminent departure from Europe, royal princesses Beatrice and Eugenie were dispatched to Berlin today where they launched a last minute campaign to persuade Germans to visit and invest in Britain before it drifts off into the mid Atlantic.
The sisters, aged 24 and 22, kicked off their “Great Britain Tour” by driving one of the German car giant BMW’s Minis through Berlin’s landmark Brandenburg Gate today.
In an attempt to lend a subtle British note to the car’s German-financed origins, the Mini was painted with an all-over Union Jack.
“The campaign is our national effort to get people to come to the United Kingdom and enjoy everything we have to offer,” Princess Beatrice told a press conference held at Berlin’s British Embassy, “We’ve got so much we’d love people around the world to come and enjoy – beautiful countryside, lively cities and some of the world’s most wonderful museums,” she added.
The BMW Mini will tour Germany’s 16 federal states over the coming months as part of the UK Government-sponsored “Great Britain” campaign which aims to promote foreign tourism, trade and investment. “The Mini we are about to drive is just one example of the great things Britain and Germany can do together,” Princess Beatrice claimed in a reference to BMW’s Mini production plant in Oxford.
German observers noted that the tour was being launched on the eve of David Cameron’s anxiously awaited speech on Britain’s future relationship with Europe and amid real fears in Germany that a many UK politicians and large sections of the public are bent on Britain leaving the EU.
The princesses were said to have been personally invited to promote the tour by Mr Cameron. “They are the fifth and sixth in line for the throne and are now part of that group of royals who are willing to go out and lend their support to the UK,” said a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman.
But it emerged today that their visit to Berlin was being funded entirely by their father, Prince Andrew, who through his former role as the UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, is no stranger to promoting British interests himself, despite the criticism he invoked while doing the job.
Prince Andrew held the unpaid position for ten years before stepping down in July 2011 after he was photographed walking through Central Park in New York with his close friend, the billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein who had just been released from prison for soliciting under aged girls.
The Prince was accused of wasting taxpayers’ money by staying in five star hotels and on chartering private jets which earned him the nickname “Air Miles Andy”. He was also accused of exploiting connections he developed with wealthy trading partners for his own ends. He sold his house for £15 million - £3 million more than the asking price- to an oil tycoon from Kazakhstan whom he joined on goose shooting excursions. The prince has denied any impropriety.
Now out of the limelight himself, Prince Andrew is believed to have lobbied for his daughters to spearhead the launch of the “Great Britain” campaign in Berlin. He is rumoured to have been fighting a “rear guard” action to ensure that they represent the Royal Family more often in future. Today’s Berlin campaign launch was their debut event.