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Prince William to visit China in early 2015

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Britain's Prince William will travel to China early next year to improve diplomatic relations which suffered in recent past following the Dalai Lama's visits to London and his meetings with Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince Charles.

The third in line to Britain's throne will be in India's neighbourhood on the invitation of the Chinese government, the BBC reported.

The invitation from China follows the official visit to Britain by the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in June, when he met Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle.

A formal royal announcement is expected soon, including information if the Duke of Cambrdige's wife Kate Middleton will be joining William, 32, for his trip.

The Duchess of Cambridge will be heavily pregnant with their second child by then, putting her travel plans in doubt.

Prince William's tour of China to improve diplomatic relations between Britain and the world's second-largest economy will be the most high-profile royal visit since the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh toured the country in 1986.

Diplomatic relations between Britain and China have been repeatedly tested in recent years because of visits to London by the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet who is living in exile in India.

The Dalai Lama has met both Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince William's father Prince Charles, which would have upset Communist Party leaders in Beijing.

But President Xi Jinping would regard a visit by the Duke and Duchess as a major step forward in improving political and trade links with the UK.

First Published: Mon, November 24 2014. 19:40 IST