I would like to talk through the outline of the programme that Their Royal Highnesses will undertake when they get to the Region. They are visiting four countries Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo and the tour will be happening from the 14th – 19th March. I might say at this point that what this tour is not about the EU, referenda or anything like that. The decision to go to the Balkans was of course taken some months ago, long before the date of the referendum was known. What this tour is about is a celebration of peace, reconciliation, youth empowerment and restoration.
Their Royal Highnesses' programme will begin in Croatia on the 14th March. They will be welcomed formally by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović in the capital city of Zagreb. Whilst they are in Zagreb, they will visit the Upper Town, the historic centre of the city and they will see buildings that have been restored following the bombing in the war in 1991. From there they will go to the Croatian National Theatre where there will be an event to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the British Councils presence in Croatia. They will tour the magnificent theater and then they will watch a short performance by children who are taking part in a programme to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare. They will also see a performance by Croatian dancers.
The next day, the 15th March, they will visit the city of Osijek. This is the largest city in Slavonia, which is the eastern region of Croatia and in the fighting from 1991 and 1995 the Yugoslav National Army it was on the front line. The Prince of Wales, who has worked for many years on inter-faith dialogue and on forging a greater understanding between religions, will attend a meeting with faith and community leaders. This was organised by Osijek's Centre for Peace and Non-Violence, which is supported by the British Embassy in Zagreb and has a relationship with the Methodist Church in the UK.
The Duchess of Cornwall, who since 2009 has done a lot of work to raise awareness of the issues facing those who have been affected by sexual violence, will attend a meeting with local mentors and practitioners working in the field of preventing sexual violence. The Duchess will also visit the State Stud Farm in Đakovo, one of the stud farms in Europe, breeding Lipizzans. This was visited by Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh in 1972.
On the 16th March, Their Royal Highnesses will travel to Serbia arriving in Belgrade and their programme will begin by attending a wreath laying ceremony at both the Serbian National War Memorial, which was erected after the First World War to the liberators of Belgrade, and the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery which is next door, to remember the British, Commonwealth and Serbian soldiers who fought alongside each other during the First World War.
The Prince of Wales will call on the Serbian Patriarch Irinej and he will attend a meeting of faith leaders from the Orthodox, Catholic, and Anglican Churches and from the Muslim and Jewish communities in Belgrade. The Duchess of Cornwall will visit a family care programme supported both by UNICEF and the Novak Djokovic Foundation. The following day Their Royal Highnesses will both visit the historical city of Novi Sad, which is about an hour north of Belgrade, where they will enjoy Serbian food, arts and cultural heritage more generally. They will visit the Matica Srpska Gallery where representatives from the British Council will present a programme they are running called "Moving Museums" and will 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. This was originally built in the 13th Century and renovated in the early 18th Century, and revived having been closed up until the late 1990s. It is now a thriving monastic community. It runs a sustainable business selling, candles, honey and brandy to local and international markets. The Prince will also meet some of the people who have been through the monastery's "Land of the Living" programme which is a 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. That evening, Their Royal Highnesses will attend at a reception which will be hosted by the President of the National Assembly of Serbia, which is the equivalent to the Speaker, at the Parliament building. It will be attended by a range of guests from culture, entertainment, sport and civic society. The Prince of Wales will give a speech on reconciliation.
On the 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, up in the hills, where they will be welcomed by the President Filip Vujanović. Their Royal Highnesses will also attend an event which will celebrate Montenegrin traditional music, arts, food, drink and culture. The Prince will then go onto the National Museum where he will meet iconographers and view the Icon of Our Lady of Phileremos, which is a hugely venerated Christian relic and thought to be the oldest preserved image of the Virgin Mary.
Their Royal Highnesses will then go to the capital, Podgorica, where The Prince will go to Vila Gorica and 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 our Prime Minister in 2014 and the 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 and will arrive in Pristina on the 18th March. They will be welcomed by President Atifete Jahjaga. The following day they will join President Jahjaga to take part in a memorial ceremony for those who have been missing since the war in Kosovo. Their Royal Highnesses will lay flowers at the Missing Person's Monument which is outside the Parliament building and bears the legend "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 these victims in Kosovo and recently pledged support for training 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, which is 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, KFOR, for a wreath laying ceremony before visiting Prizren – Kosovo's second city – where he will attend an interfaith conference organised in conjunction with the Kosovan Government.