Belfast Telegraph

Prince Charles and Camilla visit Belfast Primark fire site

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have visited Belfast's iconic Bank Buildings, nine months on from the devastating Primark fire.

The pair are in Northern Ireland as part of a three-day royal visit.

In August 2018, the Bank Buildings came close to collapse when the roof of the building caught fire.

Prince Charles and Camilla met with council staff and Primark staff and were told of the ongoing work to restore the building and reopen the store.

They also met with restoration experts and first responders who dealt with the aftermath of the blaze.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Prince of Wales met a woman rescued from Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War as he visited a synagogue in north Belfast.

Ruth Kohner, 82, was part of the Kindertransport in 1939 which brought Jewish children to the UK and safety from the Nazis. She was aged two.

She said: "It saved our lives, it must have been very difficult for my parents, who had travelled 10 days by train, to bring me and my sister to escape, but they saved our lives."

Her father lost many relatives in the concentration camps, left his mother behind and knew he would never see her again.

She spent the war at a farm in Millisle, near Belfast, along with other rescued youngsters and went on to run a family clothing business for many years.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are pictured meeting people in Belfast City Centre as part of their 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Picture Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are pictured meeting people in Belfast City Centre as part of their 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Picture Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
The Prince of Wales speaking with the new Lord Mayor of Belfast John Finucane during a visit to The Bank Buildings in Belfast, where a fire broke out in a Primark store in August 2018, nearly caused the iconic structure to collapse. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales and Duchess Of Cornwall attended a walkabout and visited the Primark store following the blaze which destroyed the iconic building last August. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 22: Camilla, Duchess Of Cornwall during a visit to Belfast on May 22, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Prince of Wales and Duchess Of Cornwall attended a walkabout and visited the Primark store following the blaze which destroyed the iconic building last August. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 22: Prince Charles, Prince Of Wales during a visit to Belfast on May 22, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Prince of Wales and Duchess Of Cornwall attended a walkabout and visited the Primark store following the blaze which destroyed the iconic building last August. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 22: Camilla, Duchess Of Cornwall during a visit to Belfast on May 22, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Prince of Wales and Duchess Of Cornwall attended a walkabout and visited the Primark store following the blaze which destroyed the iconic building last August. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 22: Prince Charles, Prince Of Wales during a visit to Belfast on May 22, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Prince of Wales and Duchess Of Cornwall attended a walkabout and visited the Primark store following the blaze which destroyed the iconic building last August. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 22: Prince Charles, Prince Of Wales during a visit to Belfast on May 22, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Prince of Wales and Duchess Of Cornwall attended a walkabout and visited the Primark store following the blaze which destroyed the iconic building last August. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 22: Prince Charles, Prince Of Wales during a visit to Belfast on May 22, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Prince of Wales and Duchess Of Cornwall attended a walkabout and visited the Primark store following the blaze which destroyed the iconic building last August. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are pictured meeting people in Belfast City Centre as part of their 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Picture Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are pictured meeting people in Belfast City Centre as part of their 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Picture Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are pictured meeting people in Belfast City Centre as part of their 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Picture Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are pictured meeting people in Belfast City Centre as part of their 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Picture Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are pictured meeting people in Belfast City Centre as part of their 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Picture Matt Mackey / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye The Prince of Wales is pictured at the Palace Demesne, Armagh during his 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. The rugby and GAA players present HRH with two shirts as he left the Palace.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye The Prince of Wales is pictured at the Palace Demesne, Armagh during his 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. He met Ulster and Ireland Rugby star Rory Best and Manager of Armagh County GAA, Kieran McGeeney during a 'game of two halves' which brings together young rugby and GAA players
The Prince of Wales is given a guard of honour by pupils from St Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh and The Royal School, Armagh, after an engagement at Palace Demense in Co. Armagh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales blowing a whistle during an engagement at Palace Demense in Co. Armagh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales signing the visitors book at Palace Demense in Co. Armagh with Armagh Lord Mayor Mealla Campbell, sitting infront of portraits of his ancestors King George III, and Queen Charlotte, painted by Scottish portrait-painter Alan Ramsey. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
RETRANSMITTED WITH CORRECT CAPTION The Prince of Wales meeting members of the Lugan District Loyal Orange No.6, during his visit to Brownlow House, Lugan, on the second day of his tour of Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
RETRANSMITTED WITH CORRECT CAPTION The Prince of Wales during his visit to Brownlow House, Lugan, on the second day of his tour of Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales looks at the Ulster rugby and Armagh GAA county jersey he was presented by pupils from The Royal School, Armagh, and St Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh, following an engagement at Palace Demense in Co. Armagh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales is given a guard of honour by pupils from St Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh and The Royal School, Armagh, after an engagement at Palace Demense in Co. Armagh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales is given a guard of honour by pupils from St Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh and The Royal School, Armagh, after an engagement at Palace Demense in Co. Armagh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales meeting the choir during his visit to Brownlow House, Lugan, on the second day of his tour of Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales with pupils from St Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh and The Royal School, Armagh, during an engagement at Palace Demense in Co. Armagh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales at the Finnebrogue Artisan event in Downpatrick, Co Down, on the second day of the Royal couple's visit to Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales meets 9-month-old Margot Dixon, Esme Dixon, 2, and Denis Lynn at the Finnebrogue Artisan event in Downpatrick, Co Down, on the second day of the Royal couple's visit to Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales during a visit to Belfast Synagogue on the second day of the Royal couple's visit to Northern Ireland. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales with Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis during a visit to Belfast Synagogue on the second day of the Royal couple's visit to Northern Ireland. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
HRH The Prince of Wales meets members of the Hebrew Community at the Belfast Hebrew Congregation. Photo by Aaron McCracken
HRH The Prince of Wales meets members of the Hebrew Community at the Belfast Hebrew Congregation. Photo by Aaron McCracken
HRH The Prince of Wales meets guests at the Belfast Hebrew Congregation. Photo by Aaron McCracken
The Prince of Wales during a visit to Belfast Synagogue on the second day of the Royal couple's visit to Northern Ireland. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales unveils a plaque during a visit to Belfast Synagogue on the second day of the Royal couple's visit to Northern Ireland. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
HRH The Prince of Wales unveiled a plaque at the Belfast Hebrew Congregation today to mark the installation of two new stain glass windows in the Synagogue. Photo by Aaron McCracken
HRH The Prince of Wales pictured with Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis as he visits at the Belfast Hebrew Congregation. Photo by Aaron McCracken
HRH The Prince of Wales meets Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis as he arrives at the Belfast Hebrew Congregation. Photo by Aaron McCracken
The Prince of Wales speaking with the new Lord Mayor of Belfast John Finucane during a visit to The Bank Buildings in Belfast, where a fire broke out in a Primark store in August 2018, nearly caused the iconic structure to collapse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured meeting people at the Belfast Welcome Organisation in west Belfast during her 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Belfast Welcome Organisation has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1977. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured meeting people at the Belfast Welcome Organisation in west Belfast during her 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Belfast Welcome Organisation has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1977. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured meeting people at the Belfast Welcome Organisation in west Belfast during her 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Belfast Welcome Organisation has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1977. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured meeting people at the Belfast Welcome Organisation in west Belfast during her 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Belfast Welcome Organisation has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1977. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured meeting people at the Belfast Welcome Organisation in west Belfast during her 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Belfast Welcome Organisation has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1977. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured meeting people at the Belfast Welcome Organisation in west Belfast during her 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Belfast Welcome Organisation has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1977. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured meeting people at the Belfast Welcome Organisation in west Belfast during her 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Belfast Welcome Organisation has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1977. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd May 2019 - The Duchess of Cornwall is pictured meeting people at the Belfast Welcome Organisation in west Belfast during her 2 day visit to Northern Ireland. Belfast Welcome Organisation has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1977. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.
The Prince of Wales with Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis during a visit to Belfast Synagogue on the second day of the Royal couple's visit to Northern Ireland.Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales during a visit to Belfast Synagogue on the second day of the Royal couple's visit to Northern Ireland. Joe Giddens/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cornwall visit the Belfast Welcome Organisation which has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1997. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cornwall visits the Belfast Welcome Organisation which has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1997. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cornwall arrives for her visit to the Belfast Welcome Organisation which has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1997. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cornwall arrives for her visit to the Belfast Welcome Organisation which has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1997. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cornwall visits the Belfast Welcome Organisation which has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1997. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cornwall visits the Belfast Welcome Organisation which has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1997. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cornwall arrives for her visit to the Belfast Welcome Organisation which has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1997. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cornwall arrives for her visit to the Belfast Welcome Organisation which has been providing potentially life-saving services and support to people affected by homelessness in Belfast since 1997. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales attends a reception at the Grand Central Hotel hosted by The Spirit of Belfast to celebrate those involved in delivering the success of the tourism and artisan food sectors in Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire

She said Charles asked her several questions when he met her at the Jewish community's place of worship in north Belfast.

The Duchess of Cornwall also visited a homeless charity complex beside a section of the city's longest peace wall.

The Belfast Welcome Organisation is based on Townsend Street, just yards from heavy metal gates which form part of the peace wall which divides the mainly Unionist/Loyalist lower Shankill Road from the mainly Nationalist/Republican Falls Road.

It has been providing services and support for people affected by homelessness in the city since 1997.

The organisation started off as a community-based drop-in centre and has grown to now offer a street outreach service, crisis accommodation for women, a floating support service and growing furniture project Welcome Home.

Camilla was guided around the charity's shop by chief executive Sandra Moore and met a number of its staff, volunteers and clients before seeing the workshop where items of furniture are upcycled for sale.

She also spoke with a number of homeless women who come to the centre every day to use its services and learn to upcycle furniture for sale in the shop.

"That's so important to restore your confidence," she told one woman, who had described to her how much the charity's services mean to her life.

"It gets you on the path, and once you are on the path you're going. You are all very brave to talk."

Praising the produce sold in the shop, she added: "The shop is just incredible, real talent."

The duchess was then invited to try her hand at some craftwork before being presented with a "Belfast Newsie" cap crafted from traditional Irish tweed.

She also met Lee-Maria Hughes, whose sister Catherine died at the age of 32 on the streets of Belfast.

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