Britain's Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales (r) and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall (l) arrive for a reception at La Villa Massena in Nice, France.
Ahead of an official visit to Greece starting Wednesday, the Prince of Wales has referred to his close connection to and “fascination” with the country, saying in exclusive comments to Kathimerini that Greece is “in my blood.”
“Apart from anything else, Greece is in my blood and I have long had a fascination for her ancient culture and history, not to mention the fact that I have been so fortunate to have visited some of Greece’s many beautiful and unique places,” Prince Charles said.
The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts has long been running programs in the United Kingdom teaching students the art of iconography, “which is, of course, such a prominent part of Greek culture and religious experience,” he said.
The three-day visit by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall comes as Prince’s Trust International expands its operations to Greece.
“Knowing that Greece, and so many Greeks, have been going through such a very difficult time in recent years, I wanted to find a way – however small and inadequate – to help the young people of Greece achieve their full potential, whether through skills training or assisting them to set up their own enterprises,” he said.
“This is something my Prince’s Trust has been doing in the United Kingdom – and now, increasingly, overseas – for the last 42 years, and so, feeling deeply for the predicament facing the Greek people, I wanted to see if the experience we have developed over all these years might be of some assistance in overcoming the challenges confronting such a very special country,” he added.
The royal couple are to arrive in Athens tomorrow afternoon and, after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, are to meet with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and then with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
On Thursday, Prince Charles is to meet with Archbishop Ieronymos and later that day he is to visit Piraeus for a tour of the HMS Echo and the HMC Valiant, which cooperate with the Hellenic Coast Guard in search and rescue exercises.