Prince Charles and Camilla Honor Genocide Victims During First-Ever Royal Visit to Rwanda
On Tuesday, the royal couple touched down in Rwanda, where Prince Charles will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Prince Charles has previously attended five of the 24 meetings held since 1971: Edinburgh in 1997, Uganda in 2007, Sri Lanka in 2013, Malta in 2015 and the U.K. in 2018.
Leaders of Commonwealth countries gather every two years for the meeting, which is hosted by a different member country on a rotating basis. This meeting is taking place after the event was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, Prince Charles and Camilla visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial, where they learned more about the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi during the Rwandan Civil War. During a period of around 100 days, hundreds of thousands of members of the Tutsi minority ethnic group were killed by armed militias.
The memorial, one of six national memorial sites that commemorate the Rwanda Genocide, is based around a former church and is the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims.
The center was officially opened in 2004 to mark the tenth commemoration of the Genocide.
Prince Charles, 73, was shown skulls of victims as well as their clothes and other belongings. Camilla, 74, also viewed photos of the victims.
The couple met with survivors from the Village of Hope, a community working to lift people out of extreme poverty, to hear their stories. They also participated in a wreath-laying ceremony and stopped for a moment of reflection at the Wall of Names.
Also on Wednesday, Prince Charles and Camilla met with Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, and his wife, Jeannette Kagame.
It was during the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that Queen Elizabeth formally asked that Prince Charles be appointed as her successor of the association of Britain and its former colonies.
"It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949," the Queen, now 96, said.
"By continuing to treasure and reinvigorate our associations and activities, I believe we will secure a safer, more prosperous and sustainable world for those who follow us: a world where the Commonwealth's generosity of spirit can bring its gentle touch of healing and hope to all," she continued.