Prince Charles and Camilla Arrive in Greece for First Overseas Visit Since Most Recent U.K. Lockdown
The couple traveled to Athens to celebrate the bicentennial of Greece's independence
The couple embarked on their first overseas visit since the most recent U.K. lockdown amid COVID-19, arriving in Greece on Wednesday. They traveled to Athens on the RAF Voyager plane to celebrate the bicentennial of Greece's independence at the invitation of the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Prince Charles, 72, and Camilla, 73, exited the plane sporting face masks to a red carpet lined with saluting officers.
They were greeted by Prime Minister Mitsotakis at the official ceremony celebrating the opening of The National Gallery, where they viewed some of the artwork.
They also attended an official state dinner and reception at the Presidential Mansion, where Charles gave a speech.
"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," he said. "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.'
"In feeling a profound connection to Greece - her landscapes, her history and her culture - I am hardly alone: there is something of her essence in us all. As the wellspring of Western civilization, Greece's spirit runs through our societies and our democracies. Without her, our laws, our art, our way of life, would never have flourished as they have."
On Thursday, the royal couple are set to attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Syntagma Square and a traditional military parade.
"The Royal Household will take all necessary measures to comply with COVID-19 regulations and guidance in Athens during the course of this event," Clarence House said in a statement.
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Charles and Camilla last visited Greece in May 2018. The prince's very first visit to Greece was in 1998.
The visit marks Charles and Camilla's last trip oversees was to Germany in November 2020 to take part in Berlin's Central Remembrance Ceremony.
The couple, who have received their COVID-19 vaccines, have recently been visiting vaccine clinics around the U.K. They've also been dealing with turmoil within the royal family, including the four-week hospitalization of Charles' father Prince Philip as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired earlier this month.