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The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall spend a first day in Serbia

16th March 2016

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall with the President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic

TRH with Mr Nikolic, The President of Serbia and his wife, Mrs Nikolic

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall arrived in Serbia today for a two day visit to the country.

After being greeted at the airport by The Prime Minister of The Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, Their Royal Highnesses met with The President of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic, at The President's House in Belgrade.

The Prince and The Duchess then joined President Nikolic and his wife Mrs Nikolic at a memorial ceremony at the Belgrade New Cemetery. The Prince of Wales laid a wreath at the Memorial Crypt of the Belgrade Defenders, paying respect to those who lost their lives in Belgrade in WWI. To mark the occasion, The Prince wore an RAF tie, Veterans badge and the shoes issued to him when he joined the RAF in March 1971.

Their Royal Highnesses then visited the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery to attend a wreath laying ceremony. They were led into the site by a piper from the Royal Irish Regiment and both the Serbian and British national anthems were played by the military band before His Royal Highness and President Nikolic laid a wreath.

Next, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall were greeted by crowds of well-wishes as they enjoyed a walking tour of Kalemegdan Fortress, which was guided by historian Professor Stojanovic. The Belgrade Fortress, Kalemegdan, consists of the old citadel and Kalemegdan Park overlooking the mouth of the River Sava into the River Danube. Belgrade Fortress was declared a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1979, and is protected by The Republic of Serbia.

After exploring Kalemegdan Fortress, The Prince of Wales joined an inter-faith dialogue with representatives from Serbia's Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities, before visiting the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate for a meeting with His Holiness Patriarch Irinej Gavrilovic of Serbia. His Royal Highness also paid a visit to St Sava Temple, where he toured the nave, the central part of the building, and learnt about its history. St Sava Temple is the biggest Orthodox temple in the Balkans. Leading music scholar Professor Dimitrije Stefanovic met The Prince at the temple, and thanked him warmly for coming to visit.  His Royal Highness heard some medieval music and two choir singers joined with Prof Stefanovic to sing a song that had been specially written for the Royal visit. Crowds of well-wishers gathered to see The Prince as he left the temple to the ringing of bells and His Royal Highness took some time to stop and shake hands with some members of the public, many of whom had applauded and cheered upon catching sight of him.

 

The Prince of Wales with the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate His Holiness Irinej Gavrilovic in Belgrade

The Prince of Wales with the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate His Holiness Irinej Gavrilovic in Belgrade

The Prince of Wales continued the afternoon with a visit to the Nova Iskra Entrepreneurship Hub, a centre that helps foster cooperation between small businesses in Belgrade. The Prince viewed a showcase of craftwork products which are a result of Nova Iskra's entrepreneurships hub programme.

The last engagement for His Royal Highness was a meeting with HRH The Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjević of Serbia and Her Royal Highness Princess Katherine of Serbia at the Royal Palace. The Prince toured the Royal Palace before having a short meeting with The Crown Prince.

The Duchess of Cornwall meanwhile visited Zvecanska Children's Home, meeting representatives of UNICEF and the Novak Djokovic Foundation, and families who have benefited from the centre. On the way in to the centre, Her Royal Highness met children from the home and pushed a little boy in a swing in the afternoon sun. While inside the centre, Her Royal Highness watched a message of thanks from the Founder of the Foundation, Novak Djokovic. Representative from UNICEF, Mr Michel Saint-Lot, said how wonderful it was for The Duchess to be there as it gave recognition to the valuable work that the outreach workers were doing.

Her Royal Highness also visited Atina, a centre for women who have suffered from sexual and domestic violence. The Duchess wrote a message of support for the young women she met, saying:

"With great admiration and my very best wishes to you all for the future."