During today’s visit to the Peace and Reconciliation Exhibition and Ceremony at the Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Bogota, The Prince of Wales shared with those gathered the hurt and anguish he felt after losing his great-uncle, Lord Mountbatten.
Attending the event today was The Duchess of Cornwall along with President Santos and the First Lady of Colombia.
Prince Charles reiterated his pain and asked Colombians to follow the lead of Northern Ireland and start on a path towards peace.
The address comes as governmental representatives and left-wing guerrillas from the FARC revolutionary group are holding talks Havana, Cuba. Both sides are aiming to forge a deal to end the conflict between various factions that has been carrying on for 50 years.
Over 5 million citizens have lost their homes and an estimated 220,000 people have died in the clash. This does not count those who were victims of violence and survived which is in the millions.
“It is an immense tragedy that violence has cast such a long shadow across the whole of this remarkable country for the past five decades. Many of you here today will have experienced unimaginable suffering, and our hearts go out to you as you struggle to come to terms with all that has happened to you and your loved ones. I suspect that many of you will probably not know that my own much-loved great-uncle, Lord Mountbatten, and members of his family including one of my godsons were murdered in Northern Ireland just over 30 years ago. So I feel I do understand something of the bewildering and soul-destroying anguish that so many of you have had to endure,” Charles commented in his address.
On 27 August 1979, The Prince’s uncle, Lord Mountbatten, one of his twin grandson’s, Nicholas, and a local boat boy, Paul Maxwell were murdered when an IRA bomb ripped apart the boat they were on in at Mullaghmore in County Sligo in the Irish Republic.
Another passenger on the boat, the Dowager Lady Brabourne, died the day after the attack from injuries sustained by the blast.
“It is my earnest hope and prayer that Colombia will soon find a lasting and durable peace. Of course, as we have learnt in the UK from the Northern Ireland peace process, and the Good Friday Agreement, building conditions for peace takes time – and there are pitfalls along the way. Great political and moral leadership is required from all parties to the conflict; and from society at large, which must also strongly feel the need for truth, reconciliation and forgiveness,” Charles noted.
Tomorrow will be Charles and Camilla’s last day in Colombia before they head to Mexico for the second part of their nine-day tour.