Prince Charles of Wales is making a historic visit to Greece, the first official visit by a member of the British royal family after decades. Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, arrive in Athens early afternoon on Wednesday and depart on Friday afternoon from Crete. The three-day visit includes meetings with the political and religious leadership of the country and several sight-seeing, except for Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum, in fact, a must visit for every high-level guest in Athens.
The visit to Acropolis will be avoided in order to avert the possibility of the Parthenon marbles dominating the visit, Nikos Xydakis, SYRIZA’s parliamentary spokesman and former European Affairs minister told the Guardian. “It’s called tact, diplomatic tact. Charles is a popular figure here and we want him to feel welcome,”Xydakis said.
Prior to his visit, Prince Charles told conservative newspaper Kathimerini, “Greece is in my blood.”
On Tuesday, the prince also announced his Prince’s Trust charity would be expanding into Greece with a view to helping “the young people of Greece achieve their full potential, whether through skills training or assisting them to set up their own enterprises”.
The visit follows an invitation by the President of the Hellenic Republic, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
The visit schedule as announced the president’s office is:
Wednesday, May 9
– Arrival at Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (14:50), laying of wreath at the Unknown Soldier’s Tomb (15:20-15:30)
– Received by President Prokopios Pavlopoulos and his wife at the Presidential Mansion (15:35), until the prince departs for Maximos Mansion to meet with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (16:10).
– Prince meets with main opposition party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis (16:45)
– The couple’s first day wraps up with formal dinner in their honor by President Pavlopoulos at the Presidential Mansion (20:30)
Thursday, May 10
– Prince of Wales meets with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Hieronymus at the archdiocese (10:00) and then visits the 11th-century Kapnikarea Church on Ermou Str. (11:10)
– Prince lays a wreath at the Allied Cemetery of Alimos, in the presence of Commonwealth country ambassadors and the mayors of Alimos and Athens (11:35)
– Following this event, the prince is scheduled to pay successive visits to HMS “Echo” (British warship in NATO force) and HMC “Valiant” (British port authority ship), the “Olympias”” reconstruction of an ancient Athenian trireme (where he will be received by National Defence Minister Panos Kammenos), and the historic warship “Averof” (of which he will be given a tour and where he is scheduled to meet with top navy officers and students at the navy school)
– Prince attends a reception in his honor by representatives of the Merchant Marine at the Mikrolimano Yacht Club (15:00)
– Prince visits the the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center and attends an international educational conference organized by the British Council (15:45)
Friday, May 11
– Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall fly to Iraklio, Crete, to visit the archaeological site of Knossos. They will be welcomed there by Culture Ministry Secretary General Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki. The prince will then meet with members of the British School at its facilities in the Villa Ariadni, former residence of Sir Arthur Evans, who excavated Knossos.
– Prince visits the Heraklion Development Company, a local community business promoting the area’s development, where he will be briefed on its activities (14:25)
– Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit a refugee community housed at the old community school.
The Duchess will have a separate program on Thursday, where she will visit a women’s shelter in Athens.
The couple’s visit to Crete will conclude with a visit to Archanes for local cultural events, before they departing from Iraklio Airport on a special flight at 16:20.