PRINCE CHARLES has spoken of his sadness at having to cancel a planned trip to the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland because of the coronavirus outbreak.
A statement posted online by the British Embassy in Dublin confirmed the Prince would no longer be visiting the Republic as part of a trip designed to coincide with the fifth anniversary of his visit to Sligo.
Writing in the statement, Charles expressed pride at the small role both he and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, played in the “reconciliation on the island of Ireland” while also “reaffirming the essential bond between the people of Ireland and the people of the United Kingdom.”
He did, however, pledge to return to Ireland and Northern Ireland as soon as it was safe to do so.
The prince’s statement read: “My wife and I cherish such special memories of our visit to Sligo five years ago, and of each of the visits we have made to Ireland in every year since.
“It has meant so much to us that we have been able to play our small part in the vital process of reconciliation on the island of Ireland and towards reaffirming the essential bond between the people of Ireland and the people of the United Kingdom.
“Although it is a matter of particular sadness that, due to the current public health crisis, we are unable to visit Ireland and Northern Ireland this year, we very much look forward to visiting again once happier times return.”
— British Embassy (@BritEmbDublin) May 19, 2020
Back in May 2015, Prince Chalres made a pilgrimage to Mullaghmore, Co Sligo, the Irish fishing village where his beloved great uncle, Lord Mountbatten, his was killed by the IRA in August 1979.
Earl Mountbatten was killed when a bomb onboard the pleasure boat Shadow V was detonated during a fishing trip.
Lady Doreen Brabourne , 83, was also killed along with the Duke’s grandson Nicholas Knatchbull, 14, and Nicholas’s friend, local boy Paul Maxwell, 15.
Prince Charles has previously spoken of his desire to maintain a strong bond between the UK and Ireland despite the former’s decision to depart the European Union.
At a St Patrick’s Day celebration event at the Embassy of Ireland in London, he said: "Above all we are friends, we are partners and we are the closest of near neighbours, bound together by everything that we have in common - and by just how far we have come together.”