Charles visits the ‘land of his grandfather’: Prince heads to Greece on first overseas trip this year as he and Camilla continue royal duties as his father Philip recovers from heart surgery at Windsor Castle
- Charles and Camilla landed at Athens Airport at just before 5.30pm local time to be greeted by honour guard
- Couple on two-day visit to attend Bicentenary Independence Day celebrations after an invite from Greek PM
- Camilla is wearing a blue and white dress by Fiona Clare, a cape by Anna Valentine, and mask sent by fan
Charles and Camilla touched down in Greece today on their first international trip of the year, as Prince Philip recovers from heart surgery at Windsor Castle.
Prince Charles has described Greece as the ‘land of my grandfather’, in a reference to Philip’s father, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark.
He landed at Athens airport with the Duchess of Cornwall at just before 5.30pm local time to be greeted by a guard provided by the Hellenic Armed Forces.
The couple, who were met by a delegation including British ambassador to Greece Kate Smith, are on a two-day visit to attend the Bicentenary Independence Day celebrations.
Camilla is wearing a blue and white dress by Fiona Clare, a cape by Anna Valentine, and a face mask with Prince of Wales feathers sent to her by a member of the public.
Charles and Camilla landed at Athens International Airport at just before 5.30pm local time. The couple are attending the Bicentenary Independence Day celebrations, following an invitation from Greece’s prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis
After disembarking the plane, Charles and Camilla greeted dignitaries, including Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Greece Kate Smith
The couple, who were invited by Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, will visit the National Gallery and attend an official state dinner at the presidential mansion where Charles will give a speech to mark the 200-year anniversary.
At the official ceremony celebrating the opening of the National Gallery, Charles and Camilla are expected to be greeted by Mr Mitsotakis and his wife Mareva Grabowski-Mitsotaki.
They will be given a tour by the director of the National Gallery, Professor Marina Lambraki-Plaka, in which they will view the paintings of British artists Thomas Gordon and Frank Abney Hastings.
At the dinner, Charles is expected to say: ‘Your Excellency – today, as in 1821, Greece can count on her friends in the United Kingdom.
‘The ties between us are strong and vital, and make a profound difference to our shared prosperity and security. Just as our histories are closely bound together, so too are our futures.’
Charles and Camilla are expected to be seated at the high table for the official state dinner, hosted by the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou.
On Thursday, the couple will attend a wreath laying at the Memorial of the Unknown Soldier and watch 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.
The brief tour will be Charles’ third official visit to Greece following his first in 1998 and a further trip in 2018 with Camilla, her first official visit to the country.
The couple have already travelled overseas during the Covid-19 pandemic, visiting Germany in November for a brief two-day trip to attend commemorations marking the country’s National Day of Mourning.
Clarence House announced the visit to Athens last week in a statement which said: ‘At the request of the British Government, Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will attend the Bicentenary Independence Day celebrations in Athens from March 24-25.
‘This follows an invitation from the prime minister of Greece, Mr Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
‘The Bicentenary Event’s Independence Day celebrations will take place from the evening of Wednesday March 24 and will conclude on Thursday March 25.’
Last July, Charles said he hoped to visit Greece again after the pandemic.
In an opinion piece for Ta Nea, a daily newspaper in the country, he sent his ‘heartfelt wishes to the people of Greece at this very difficult time’.
He added: ‘The resilience of Greece and her people has been tested before, and I hope that the country will once again emerge with renewed vigour and optimism.
‘When that moment comes and the world has made its way through this challenging time, my wife and I do so hope to visit Greece and to see you all again.
‘Until we meet again.’
Charles described Greece as ‘the land of my grandfather’ and recalled how his first visit there more than five decades ago had left a ‘vivid impression’ on him.
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