Today The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall arrived in Athens to attend Greece’s Bicentenary Independence Day celebrations.
On arrival in Athens, Their Royal Highnesses were greeted by Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Greece, Ms. Kate Smith, and a guard provided by the Hellenic Armed Forces.
To begin the Royal visit to Greece, The Prince and The Duchess attended the Official Ceremony celebrating the opening of the National Gallery. After being welcomed to the National Gallery by the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Their Royal Highnesses were taken on a tour of the newly renovated gallery. Founded in 1900, the gallery has a collection of more than 20,000 paintings, sculptures, engravings and other art forms.
In the evening, The Prince and The Duchess attended an official State Dinner at the Presidential Mansion hosted by the President of Greece, Katerina Sakellaropoulou. Their Royal Highnesses signed the guest book, and The Prince made a speech during the dinner.
His Royal Highness said:
My wife and I could not be more delighted to be back in Greece, which has long held the most special place in my heart. After all, Greece is the land of my grandfather; and of my father’s birth, nearly one hundred years ago, in the centenary year of Greek Independence.
Today, as in 1821, Greece can count on her friends in the United Kingdom. The ties between us are strong and vital, and make a profound difference to our shared prosperity and security. Just as our histories are closely bound together, so too are our futures.
The following day, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall joined representatives from Greece, Cyprus, France and Russia at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier in Syntagma Square for a wreath laying ceremony.
The Prince laid a wreath at the memorial, which is dedicated to Greek soldiers who died during conflict.
As part of the Bicentenary Independence Day celebrations a military parade by members of the Hellenic Armed Forces took place, followed by a flypast.
Their Royal Highnesses then jointly met with the President of Greece at the Presidential Mansion, and The Prince of Wales had a meeting with the Greek Prime Minister.
At Athens City Hall, the Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyannis presented The Prince of Wales with the Gold Medal of Honour for services to the city and to Greece.
The Prince said during his acceptance speech:
“I shall wear this medal with great pleasure and pride, as something I shall treasure as a result of this visit to Athens but also of your great kindness and consideration to me after all these years.
“As I said three years ago when I was here, I know there is quite a bit of Greek blood flowing around me so this will always remind me of my connections to this remarkable country, so thank you.”
The Prince also met business leaders who have signed up to his Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Terra Carta, which provides a roadmap to 2030 for businesses to move towards a sustainable future.
The Duchess of Cornwall meanwhile met representatives from Diotima, a charity working to end discrimination against women and provide support to domestic violence survivors. HRH also spoke to members of the police service’s newly established Domestic Violence Unit.