The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will visit Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo from 14th – 19th March 2016. Their Royal Highnesses will undertake a broad range of engagements to celebrate peace, reconciliation, youth empowerment and restoration.
Their Royal Highnesses' visit will begin in Croatia on 14th March where they will be officially welcomed by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović in the capital city of Zagreb. As part of their visit to Zagreb, Their Royal Highnesses will visit the historic Upper Town to see the restoration of buildings that were damaged during bombing in 1991. Their Royal Highnesses will also visit the Croatian National Theatre and will attend an event to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the British Council in Croatia. After a brief tour of the theatre, The Prince and The Duchess will watch a short performance by children participating in a programme to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Their Royal Highnesses will also view performances by Croatian dancers.
On 15th March, The Prince and The Duchess will visit Osijek. Osijek is the largest city in Slavonia, a region of eastern Croatia, which was on the front line of the war between Croatia and the Yugoslav Army between 1991 and 1995. The Prince of Wales, who has worked for many years to encourage inter-faith dialogue and a greater understanding of different religions, will attend a meeting with faith and community leaders. The meeting has been organised by Osijek's Centre for Peace and Non-Violence, which is supported by the British Embassy in Zagreb.
The Duchess of Cornwall, who since 2009 has worked to raise awareness of the issues facing those affected by sexual violence, will attend a meeting with local mentors and practitioners on preventing sexual violence. The Duchess will also visit the State Stud Farm in Đakovo, one of the oldest horse farms in Europe, which was visited by Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh in 1972.
On 16th March, Their Royal Highnesses will arrive in Belgrade, Serbia, where they will start their programme by laying wreaths at the Memorial Crypt Of The Belgrade Defenders 1914-1918, and the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in order to remember the British, Commonwealth and Serbian soldiers who fought alongside each other in the First World War.
The Prince of Wales will call on the Serbian Patriarch Irinej and attend a meeting of faith leaders from the Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican Muslim and Jewish communities in Belgrade. The Duchess of Cornwall will visit a family care project supported by both UNICEF and the Novak Djokovic Foundation. The following day Their Royal Highnesses will visit the historical city of Novi Sad where they will enjoy Serbian food, arts and cultural heritage. They will visit the Matica Srpska Gallery where representatives from the British Council will present their "Moving Museums" programme and demonstrate how the UK and countries across the Western Balkans are working together to attract new audiences to museums. The Prince will then visit the 700 year-old Kovilj Monastery. Originally built in the 13th Century and renovated in the early 18th Century, the Monastery was revived in the late 1990s and has a thriving monastic community that runs a sustainable business selling honey and brandy to local and international markets. The Prince will also meet those going through the monastery's "Land of the Living" rehabilitation programme for recovering addicts. The Duchess will attend an event to showcase Serbian food and meet local British and Serbian food and drink producers. Later that evening, Their Royal Highnesses will attend at a reception hosted by the President of the National Assembly of Serbia at the Parliament building, which will be attended by a range of guests from culture, entertainment, sport and civic society.
On 18th March, Their Royal Highnesses will travel to Montenegro to mark the 10th anniversary of the Montenegrin Independence. Their visit will begin in the former royal capital, Cetinje, where they will be welcomed to Montenegro by President Filip Vujanović. Their Royal Highnesses will also attend an event celebrating Montenegrin traditional music, arts, food, drink and culture. The Prince will visit the National Museum of Montenegro where he will meet iconographers and view the Icon of Our Lady of Phileremos, which is one of the three most venerated Christian relics and deemed to be the oldest preserved image of the Virgin Mary.
In Podgorica, The Prince will visit Vila Gorica where he will meet the Prime Minister and the Speaker, while The Duchess of Cornwall will meet representatives of UNICEF Montenegro who are working on the WePROTECT initiative. #WePROTECT Children Online is a global initiative launched by Prime Minister David Cameron in 2014. The UK’s global WePROTECT fund has been used in Montenegro to tackle online sexual exploitation of children and to track perpetrators.
Their Royal Highnesses will conclude their tour of the Western Balkans in Kosovo where, on arrival in Pristina on 18th March, they will be welcomed by President Atifete Jahjaga. The following day The Prince and The Duchess will join President Jahjaga to take part in a memorial ceremony for those missing since the war in Kosovo. Their Royal Highnesses will lay flowers at the Missing Persons Monument at the Parliament building in Pristina entitled "To Those We Miss".
The Duchess of Cornwall and President Jahjaga will attend a meeting with survivors of sexual violence. President Jahjaga, who established Kosovo's National Council for the Survivors of Sexual Violence, is a campaigner for the rights of victims of sexual violence. The UK has historically been a strong supporter of victims of sexual violence in Kosovo and recently pledged support for training in Kosovo on the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict. The Duchess of Cornwall's final engagement in Kosovo will be to the Ideas Partnership, a British charity established by Elizabeth Gowing (an award winning author) and Robert Wilton. The charity, which is the third largest volunteer organisation in Kosovo, provides support to the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities in Kosovo.
The Prince of Wales will visit the Headquarters of the Kosovo Force for a wreath laying ceremony before visiting Prizren – Kosovo's second city – where he will attend the interfaith conference organised in conjunction with the Kosovan Government.
Notes for Editors
The Prince of Wales has visited the Western Balkans eight times. This is The Duchess of Cornwall's first official visit to Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia.
Previous visits by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall:
1. In October 1978 The Prince of Wales visited Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2. In March 1993 The Prince of Wales visited Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.
3. In February 1996 The Prince of Wales visited Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.
4. In August 1996 The Prince of Wales visited Croatia.
5. In November 1998 The Prince of Wales visited Macedonia.
6. In September 1999 The Prince of Wales visited Kosovo.
7. In July 2004 The Prince of Wales visited Bosnia and Herzegovina.
8. In March 2007 The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited Bosnia and Herzegovina.