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Charles and Camilla to attend Independence Day parade in Athens

The couple’s two-day visit to Greece is at the request of the British Government following an invitation from prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

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The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visit the National Gallery in Athens (Chris Jackson/PA)

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visit the National Gallery in Athens (Chris Jackson/PA)

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visit the National Gallery in Athens (Chris Jackson/PA)

The Prince of Wales will watch a military parade to mark Greek Independence Day after declaring that the country has “the most special place in my heart”.

Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will attend a wreath laying ceremony at the Memorial of the Unknown Soldier at Syntagma Square in Athens, and observe the Independence Day Military Parade which marks Greece’s uprising against the Ottoman Empire in 1821.

In previous years, thousands of people waving Greek flags have lined the main streets of central Athens to watch the March 25 parade, which is expected to be a more subdued event due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Prince of Wales gives a speech at the presidential mansion in Athens (Tim Rooke/PA)

The Prince of Wales gives a speech at the presidential mansion in Athens (Tim Rooke/PA)

PA

The Prince of Wales gives a speech at the presidential mansion in Athens (Tim Rooke/PA)

A curfew is in place in Athens from 9pm to 5am on weekdays, while face masks are mandatory in all public places, both indoors and outdoors.

Charles and Camilla’s two-day visit to Greece is at the request of the British Government following an invitation from the country’s prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The couple will be met on Thursday by President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and her partner Pavlos Kotsonis.

They will go to the Monument of the Unknown Soldier, a memorial dedicated to Greek soldiers killed during war, to take part in the wreath laying.

On Wednesday night, Charles and Camilla were guests at an official state dinner at the presidential mansion in the Greek capital.

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The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at the presidential mansion in Athens (Tim Rooke/PA)

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at the presidential mansion in Athens (Tim Rooke/PA)

PA

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at the presidential mansion in Athens (Tim Rooke/PA)

In a speech, the heir to the throne hailed the “strong and vital” ties between the UK and Greece, and gave a nod to his 99-year-old father’s link to the country.

The Duke of Edinburgh was born a prince of Greece and Denmark, allegedly on the kitchen table of his family home, Mon Repos, on the Greek island of Corfu, in 1921.

Speaking at the dinner, which had 45 guests in total and was hosted by Ms Sakellaropoulou, Charles said: “My wife and I could not be more delighted to be back in Greece, which has long held the most special place in my heart.

“After all, Greece is the land of my grandfather; and of my father’s birth, nearly one hundred years ago, in the centenary year of Greek Independence.

“Later, it was in Athens that my dear grandmother, Princess Alice, during the dark years of Nazi occupation, sheltered a Jewish family – an act for which in Israel she is counted as ‘Righteous Among The Nations’.”

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The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrive at Athens International Airport (Samir Hussein/PA)

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrive at Athens International Airport (Samir Hussein/PA)

PA

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrive at Athens International Airport (Samir Hussein/PA)

Charles also said that Athens wants to enact his ambitious Terra Carta, or Earth Charter, which has parallels with the Magna Carta.

It aims to encourage the private sector to safeguard the planet by adopting sustainability and to invest 10 billion dollars (£7.3 billion) in “natural capital” by 2022.

He said: “Once again, the stakes could hardly be higher.

“The choices we make will determine the fate not only of our nations, but of this singular planet which we all share.”

Greece is aiming to reopen its borders to foreign tourists from May 14.

Visitors will be required to have been vaccinated, had a recent negative Covid-19 test or have coronavirus antibodies.

PA


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