The Prince of Wales has embraced his ties with Greece and even spoke Greek at the President’s dinner at the Presidential Mansion in Athens, saying “We want to thank you for your warm welcome and heartfelt hospitality.”
He went on to say, “As the great English Poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, said: “We are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, our religion, our arts have their root in Greece.”
Speaking of his family ties and connection to Greece, he added, “For my part, my own connections to Greece have particular meaning – after all, it is the land of my grandfather…”
“In Britain, as across the Western World, the profound influence of Greece has, since ancient times, shaped the way we think, the way we build, the way we learn and the way we govern.
“The ties between our two countries run deep, and today are as strong and as vital as they have ever been. In an uncertain world, these bonds between our countries and our people are of the greatest importance – and will endure, as our relationship evolves in the years ahead,” he said.
“I thank you once again for your heartfelt and warm reception to your country, which is always so hospitable. I raise my glass to everyone’s health, and to the welfare and friendship of our two peoples. Long live Greece! Long Live the United Kingdom!”
Prince Charles also visited the Byzantine Church of Kapnikarea in Athens yesterday, where he kissed an icon of the Resurrection of Christ.
The royal was granted a reception with the head of Greece’s Orthodox Christian Church, Archbishop Ieronymos II. The Prince was led to a room full of paintings of former Archbishops of Athens and was welcomed by other Greek Bishops, before signing the visitor’s book.
The Archbishop told him,“Welcome to the land of half of your ancestors.”
Charles has long been interested in Orthodoxy, privately visiting monasteries in Greece, where his paternal great-grandfather reigned and his father, Prince Philip, was born.
Replying to the Archbishop’s greeting, the Prince said, ‘I’m most grateful for your extremely generous welcome. I’m enormously touched that you should receive me here on this visit to Athens.’
Charles also received a gift of an icon of Panagia (Virgin Mary) from the Archbishop.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall also took a walk around Ermou Street, where they were greeted by large crowds and locals who showed their Greek hospitality by offering the Royals, Greek delicacies including Koulouria, Loukouma and Loukoumades, before they sat down to enjoy a Greek coffee and Freddo, which was the Prince’s choice of caffeine.