Sunday, 20 Jun 2021

‘Deeply moved’ Charles hails those committed to healing ‘pain of past’ in Northern Ireland

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The Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla embarked on a two day tour of the province on Tuesday, ahead of its centennial celebrations this summer. Northern Ireland’s first Parliament was officially opened by Charles’ great-grandfather King George V on June 22, 1921. During a visit to Belfast City Hall, The Duke of Cornwall delivered a speech, praising those committed to bridging divides between communities in Northern Ireland.

“I cannot tell you how really inspiring it has been to hear of the tireless work being carried out by youth workers on all sides of the community, and I just wanted to take this opportunity, if I may, to pay a special tribute to your dedication and commitment to the cause of peaceful co-existence,” he said.

“Whenever I visit this part of the world, I never cease to be profoundly moved by the work that is being done to heal the pain of the past, to bring understanding and reconciliation in the present, and to build hope for the future.

“All who love this very special part of the world can only wish you renewed strength of spirit and resolve as you take forward this work of such vital importance to these islands.

“So, thank you ladies and gentlemen for all you do.”

The Prince of Wales found time in his busy schedule to make a 25-minute visit to Slieve Gullion Forest Park in south Armagh.

Charles was given a warm welcome by a group of children from The Ring of Gullion Traditional Arts Partnership, who put on a musical performance for him.

He proceeded to chat with bystanders, one of whom told him that if he jumped into Camlough Lake he would regain his youth.

The future King of England quipped in reply: “It looks like you’ve jumped in already.”

Prince Charles was breaking new ground in visiting South Armagh, a former IRA stronghold during the Troubles.

His visit was described as a “momentous occasion”, by a local woman.

She told the Belfast Telegraph: “He felt he could come here and he was accepted.

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People were happy to see him as an environmentalist and a conservationist, that’s why he was here.

“We have that in common here.

“We all appreciate the efforts that he made to come here today.”

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