London, March 9, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Thanasis Gavos
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will visit Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo from 14th to 19th March. Their Royal Highnesses will undertake a broad range of engagements “to celebrate peace, reconciliation, youth empowerment and restoration,” according to an announcement by Clarence House.
The royal visit will begin in Zagreb on 14th March where Prince Charles and his wife will be officially welcomed by Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. As part of their visit to the city, Their Royal Highnesses will visit the historic Upper Town to see the restoration of buildings that were damaged during bombing in 1991.
They will also visit the Croatian National Theatre and will attend an event to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the British Council in Croatia. After a brief tour of the theatre, The Prince and The Duchess will watch a short performance by children participating in a programme to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, and will also watch performances by Croatian dancers.
On 15th March, The Prince and The Duchess will visit Osijek, which was on the front line of the war between Croatia and the Yugoslav Army between 1991 and 1995. The Prince of Wales will attend a meeting with faith and community leaders. The meeting has been organised by Osijek’s Centre for Peace and Non-Violence, which is supported by the British Embassy in Zagreb.
The Duchess of Cornwall will attend a meeting with local mentors and practitioners on preventing sexual violence. The Duchess will also visit the State Stud Farm in Đakovo, one of the oldest horse farms in Europe, which was visited by Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh in 1972.
On 16th March, Their Royal Highnesses will arrive in Belgrade, Serbia, where they will start their programme by laying wreaths at the Serbian WW1 memorial to the liberators of Belgrade and the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in order to remember the British, Commonwealth and Serbian soldiers who fought alongside each other in the First World War.
The Prince of Wales will call on the Serbian Patriarch Irinej and attend a meeting of faith leaders from the Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican Muslim and Jewish communities in Belgrade. The Duchess of Cornwall will visit a family care project supported by both UNICEF and the Novak Djokovic Foundation.
The following day the royal couple will visit the historical city of Novi Sad where they will enjoy Serbian food, arts and cultural heritage. They will visit the Matica Srpska Gallery and the Prince will then visit the 700 year-old Kovilj Monastery.The Duchess will attend an event to showcase Serbian food and meet local British and Serbian food and drink producers. Later that evening, Their Royal Highnesses will attend at a reception hosted by the President of the National Assembly of Serbia at the Parliament building, which will be attended by a range of guests from culture, entertainment, sport and civic society.
On 18th March, Their Royal Highnesses will travel to Montenegro to mark the 10th anniversary of the Montenegrin Independence. Their visit will begin in the former royal capital, Cetinje, where they will be welcomed to Montenegro by President Filip Vujanović, followed by an event celebrating local culture and a visit to the National Museum of Montenegro.
In Podgorica, The Prince will visit Vila Gorica where he will meet the Prime Minister and the Speaker, while The Duchess of Cornwall will meet representatives of UNICEF Montenegro who are working on the WePROTECT initiative, launched by Prime Minister David Cameron for the protection of children online.
Their Royal Highnesses will conclude their tour of the Western Balkans in Kosovo where, on arrival in Pristina on 18th March, they will be welcomed by President Atifete Jahjaga. The following day The Prince and The Duchess will join President Jahjaga to take part in a memorial ceremony for those missing since the war in Kosovo.
The Duchess of Cornwall and President Jahjaga will attend a meeting with survivors of sexual violence. The Duchess’s final engagement in Kosovo will be to the Ideas Partnership, a British charity that provides support to the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities in Kosovo.
The Prince of Wales will visit the Headquarters of the Kosovo Force for a wreath laying ceremony before visiting Prizren – Kosovo’s second city – where he will attend the interfaith conference organised in conjunction with the Kosovan Government.
The Prince of Wales has visited the Western Balkans eight times since 1978, whereas it will be The Duchess of Cornwall’s first official visit to Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia.