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Charles and Camilla greet Suu Kyi

N obel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was reunited with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall on a visit to Britain today.

The Burmese opposition leader made a special request to see the royal couple on a tour which also sees her meet political leaders including Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Charles and Camilla accompanied Ms Suu Kyi into the Garden Room at Charles's London home Clarence House and the Prince explained: "There's endless people taking photographs."

Ms Suu Kyi joined in the spirit, saying: "You've got to obey the photographers."

And the Prince assured her: "That's by far the best policy."

The Prince settled on one sofa and his wife and Ms Suu Kyi sat on another as the Prince and Ms Suu Kyi began talks which were expected to last 45 minutes.

Ms Suu Kyi met the Prince for the first time at the same location in June last year.

Today's meeting took place shortly before the christening of three-month-old Prince George at nearby St James's Palace.

Ms Suu Kyi has close connections with Britain having read philosophy, politics and economics at St Hugh's College, Oxford, between 1964 and 1967, before settling in the university city with her late husband Michael Aris, a Tibetan scholar.

In July 1989, around a year after her return to her homeland to care for her mother, Ms Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest by the ruling military which feared the influence of a woman whose father was instrumental in gaining Burma's freedom from British rule.

She remained there for much of the next 20 years, finally being released in November 2010.

Her husband died of prostate cancer in 1999 at the age of 53. He had asked the Burmese authorities to grant him a visa to visit her one last time, but was refused.

Charles knew Mr Aris and the year the scholar died he became patron of the Michael Aris Memorial Trust for Tibetan and Himalayan Studies.

Charles and Ms Suu Kyi have another connection apart from his links to her late husband.

Lord Mountbatten, the prince's great uncle, and the campaigner's father, General Aung San, were involved in important events leading up to Burma's independence from British rule.

As supreme allied commander of South East Asia Lord Mountbatten held negotiations in 1943 with Aung San, Burma's war minister, who switched his country's military allegiance from Japan to Britain and h elped the Allies defeat the Japanese in his homeland.

The general went on to play a crucial role in Burma becoming an independent nation before he was assassinated in 1947, months before independence was realised.

At last year's meeting with the Prince, Ms Suu Kyi planted a tiny black tulip magnolia sapling in the garden.

It is near a "spectrum" magnolia planted by the Dalai Lama in 2008.

The Prince escorted Ms Suu Kyi into the garden to see the tree, which has made good progress since.

That part of her visit had depended on the weather, but the sun was shining brightly which enabled them to brave a strong breeze to inspect the tree.

Charles told Ms Suu Kyi: "I'm so glad it's there." And Ms Suu Kyi replied: "It's looking very nice."

He then accompanied her to her chauffeur-driven vehicle, with the pair shaking hands warmly before she went off to her next meeting.

The Prince strode back into Clarence House before his expected attendance at Prince George's christening.


From Belfast Telegraph