Belfast Telegraph

Prince Charles asked to meet girl bereaved by Paras on Bloody Sunday

By Donna Deeney

Prince Charles requested to meet the granddaughter of one of the Bloody Sunday victims after she sang for him at an ecumenical service of reconciliation on the second day of his visit to Ireland.

Bethany McLoughlin's grandfather Gerard McKinney was among 14 innocent people shot dead by paratroopers on Bloody Sunday in January 1972, leaving his wife Ita to bring up eight children in Derry on her own.

The Regiment's Colonel-in-Chief, Prince Charles reached out and connected with Bethany (17) after the special service in Drumcliff, Co Sligo, after hearing she would be part of the choir.

Filled with emotion at home in Londonderry, Bethany's grandmother afterwards told her she loved her and was "so, so proud" of her.

Bethany rang her grandmother at the first available opportunity to tell her that Prince Charles had asked to meet with her and that she had shaken hands with him.

Any fears the teenager had that her grandmother would not have approved were dispelled immediately when Mrs McKinney told Bethany she had watched her on the television and she was immensely proud of her.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Bethany's mother Mairead, who was just a baby of 18 months when her father was fatally injured on the streets of Derry, said the look exchanged between the prince and Bethany as they shook hands spoke volumes.

She said: "I think anyone watching could see the raw emotion in Charles' eyes. It had been a very emotional day for him and there was more to follow when he left Drumcliff to go to Mullaghmore.

"He spoke of his pain at the death of Lord Mountbatten, whom he referred to as the grandfather he never had, and Bethany also knows how it feels to grow up without ever knowing her grandfather.

"His compassion for her loss and for us as a family was evident when he requested to meet Bethany and that it what these days are all about. It is about moving on from the pain of the past and forgiving each other.

"That is what my mother is all about and it is what my father was about. We were brought up to forgive - that was instilled in us by my mother after my father was killed - and it is what we have instilled in Bethany and her brothers and sisters."

Mairead added: "I have no doubt my father was watching down on Bethany from Heaven, smiling down on her, and he would have been as proud of her, as we are."

Further reading

Charles and Camilla show winning form at race meeting

Prince Charles visit can inspire politicians to move forwards

General Mike Jackson who witnessed Narrow Water aftermath salutes Prince Charle's bravery

Prince Charles asked to meet girl bereaved by Paras on Bloody Sunday

Parents of Mullaghmore schoolboy victim Paul Maxwell say event keeps his memory alive

Prince Charles buries a ghost of his past to lay a milestone on path to peace

Prince Charles: 'Through this dreadful experience, I now understand the agonies borne by so many others in these islands'

  Prince Charles makes poignant pilgrimage to scene of great-uncle Mountbatten's murder

Belfast Telegraph


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