Royal aides are looking into what part senior Royals including Prince Charles and the Duke of York could have in helping to broker deals in Commonwealth countries and beyond.
Members of the Royal Family already undertake official overseas visits in support of British interests, but their influence could be used to “turbo boost” any negotiations, according to a well-placed Foreign Office insider.
“If we are going to be actively rebooting existing trade relationships as well as creating new ones then by having the Royal Family on board, what we are saying is: We are interested in building a relationship at the highest symbolic level.
“The Royals pack a formidable soft power punch.”
Having visited Estonia earlier this month, Prince Andrew spent last week in Malaysia, meeting business leaders in the capital Kuala Lumpur. Despite standing down as the UK’s “special representative” for trade and investment in 2011 over his links to convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, an American financier, he still regularly travels overseas.
The Royal Family has always had a valuable role to play
Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister Tobias Ellwood
His website has a section entitled Supporting British Prosperity, which outlines his economic, business and entrepreneurship activities. In his speech announcing that he would not be running for the Conservative leadership on Thursday, Boris Johnson said Malaysia was one of the countries that had already made “overtures” about striking new deals with Britain, along with Australia, New Zealand, India and Singapore.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister Tobias Ellwood said: “The Royal Family has always had a valuable role to play in helping to maintain our enduring relationships across the Commonwealth, the Middle East and the rest of the world.
“The monarch does an incredible job promoting ‘brand Britain’ – just look at what Prince Harry achieved with the Invictus Games in Orlando earlier this year. They engender a real sense of good will towards Britain, that’s nothing new.”
The Queen herself is a firm advocate of the Commonwealth and has helped boost trade with many countries formerly part of the British Empire. Prince Charles, who launched his own highly successful organic food firm Duchy Originals in 1990, is a passionate advocate of harnessing international business links to tackle environmental issues.
He attended the Investment Leaders Group Forum two months ago in London, which involved meeting a global network of investment managers and asset owners known as the Investment Leaders Group.
A Clarence House spokesman said it was “too soon to say” what role the heir to the throne may have in any future trade missions. He now undertakes more foreign travel than the Queen, who turned 90 this year.
The Duke of Kent too was hugely successful as vice-chairman of the British Overseas Trade Board for 25 years from the mid Seventies. Meanwhile, Prince William has led the next generation of the Royal Family’s involvement in promoting trade.
The Duke of Cambridge was credited with playing an important role in improving business links with China, when he met President Xi Jinping last March during the highest-profile UK royal visit to China in nearly 30 years.
Mr Elwood added: “The Royals do open doors, there’s no doubt about it, and will continue to do so.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK