Futures of UK and Greece closely bound together – Prince of Wales

Catherine Wylie, PA
·3-min read

The Prince of Wales will hail the “strong and vital” ties between the UK and Greece during an official two-day visit to Athens.

Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are attending the Bicentenary Independence Day celebrations, following an invitation from Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The couple will attend an official state dinner and reception at the presidential mansion on Wednesday evening, where Charles will give a speech to mark the 200-year anniversary.

Charles, who has previously described Greece as “the land of my grandfather”, is expected to say: “Your Excellency – 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.”

On Thursday, the couple will attend a wreath laying at the Memorial of the Unknown Soldier and watch the Independence Day Military Parade which marks Greece’s uprising against the Ottoman Empire in 1821.

Royal visit to France and Greece – Day Five
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during a previous visit to the Knossos archaeological site in Crete (Andrew Matthews/PA)

In previous years, thousands of people waving Greek flags have lined the main streets of central Athens to watch the March 25 parade.

The brief tour will be Charles’ third official visit to Greece following his first in 1998 and a further trip in 2018 with Camilla – her first official visit to the country.

The couple have already travelled overseas during the Covid-19 pandemic, visiting Germany in November for a brief two-day trip to attend commemorations marking the country’s National Day of Mourning.

Clarence House announced the visit to Athens last week in a statement which said: “At the request of the British Government, Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will attend the Bicentenary Independence Day celebrations in Athens from 24th-25th March.

“This follows an invitation from the Prime Minister of Greece, Mr Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

“The Bicentenary Event’s Independence Day celebrations will take place from the evening of Wednesday 24th March and will conclude on Thursday 25th March, 2021.”

Last July, Charles said he hoped to visit Greece again after the pandemic.

Royal visit to France and Greece – Day Four
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during a previous visit to the Commonwealth War Graves in Athens (Andrew Matthews/PA)

In an opinion piece for Ta Nea, a daily newspaper in the country, he sent his “heartfelt wishes to the people of Greece at this very difficult time”.

He added: “The resilience of Greece and her people has been tested before, and I hope that the country will once again emerge with renewed vigour and optimism.

“When that moment comes and the world has made its way through this challenging time, my wife and I do so hope to visit Greece and to see you all again.

“Until we meet again.”

Charles described Greece as “the land of my grandfather” and recalled how his first visit there more than five decades ago had left a “vivid impression” on him.

Greece was hit by devastating fires which ravaged the Attica region shortly after Charles and Camilla visited in 2018.

Charles wrote: “The tragic loss of life and distressing aftermath caused by these fires compelled me to offer some assistance, however small, to help the region take its first steps towards rebuilding.”

His charitable fund has helped develop a masterplan for the town of Mati focused on fire resistance, the coastline, public and green spaces, and rainfall capture through a sustainable urban drainage system.