Belfast Telegraph

'Lord Mountbatten was the grandfather I never had,' says Prince Charles ahead of emotional visit to great-uncle's murder site

Earlier the Prince of Wales addressed the crowd in Irish

By Adrian Rutherford

Prince Charles has described Lord Mountbatten as the grandfather he never had ahead of an emotional visit to the scene of his murder.

The Prince referred to the 1979 IRA attack which killed his great uncle during a lunchtime speech in Sligo.

He told an audience at The Model, one of Ireland’s leading contemporary arts centres, that he was only too deeply aware of the long history of suffering which Ireland had endured.

“It is a history which, I know, has caused much pain and much resentment in a world of imperfect human beings where it is always too easy to over-generalise and to attribute blame.”

Earlier, he greeted the audience in Irish, saying: "Ní bhíonn strainseirí anseo ach carda nar aithíonn leat [There are no strangers here, only friends that you haven’t yet met]".

Prince Charles went on to directly refer to his uncle’s murder.

The IRA bomb on August 27 1979 killed Lord Mountbatten, his 14-year-old grandson, Nicholas Knatchbull, and Ms Hornsey's son Paul Maxwell.

The Dowager Lady Brabourne died the day after the attack.

“In August 1979, my much-loved great uncle, Lord Mountbatten, was killed alongside his young grandson and my godson, Nicholas, and his friend, Paul Maxwell, and Nicholas’s grandmother, the Dowager Lady Brabourne,” he added.

“At the time I could not imagine how we would come to terms with the anguish of such a deep loss since, for me, Lord Mountbatten represented the grandfather I never had.

“So it seemed as if the foundations of all that we held dear in life had been torn apart irreparably.

“Through this dreadful experience, though, I now understand in a profound way the agonies borne by so many others in these islands, of whatever faith, denomination or political tradition.”

The Prince said that despite the tragedy of August 1979, the memories that Lord Mountbatten’s family have of Classiebawn Castle and Mullaghmore, going right back to 1946, were of great happiness.

“I look forward to seeing, at last, the place that he and they so loved and to meeting its inhabitants,” he added.

Further reading:

A day of firsts as Prince Charles shakes hands on peace and lives dream on Burren

Prince Charles royal visit: Bloody Sunday widow tells granddaughter to sing her heart out for peace 

Royal visit to take a sombre tone as Prince Charles remembers great-uncle slain by IRA at Mullaghmore 

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