Prince Charles and Camilla pay tribute to victims of 1994 Rwandan genocide as they visit memorial


Prince Charles and Camilla pay tribute to victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide as they visit memorial in Kigali – as he gets set to represent the Queen at Commonwealth meeting

  • Prince Charles has arrived for Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting postponed by Covid pandemic  
  • Future king, 73, joined by Duchess of Cornwall, where they met survivors of the Rwandan genocide today 
  • Charles is representing the Queen for the first time at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting  

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Prince Charles and Camilla have paid tribute to the victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide during a visit to a memorial in Kigali.

The future king, 73, was joined by the Duchess of Cornwall in the Rwandan capital where they met survivors and perpetrators of the mass genocide and paid homage to the victims by laying a wreath of white roses that included a card signed by the couple and silver ribbons embossed with the words ‘Never again’.

Charles is representing the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting for the first time since he was chosen to inherit her position as head of the global ‘family of nations’ in 2018.

The trip will be the first royal visit to Rwanda and one of a minority of the world’s nations the Queen has not visited.

During the engagement, Camilla, 74, wore a navy blue floral tunic dress, paired with heeled nude pumps, pearl earrings and a five motifs Van Cleef & Arpels vintage blue Alhambra bracelet, worth nearly £4,000, while Charles wore a cream-coloured linen suit. 

In 1994 hundreds of thousands of members of the Tutsi community were slaughtered in Rwanda by ethnic Hutu extremists. The issue of genocide and reconciliation is said to be very close to the prince’s heart and he will also visit a village that was targeted later today. 

Charles, 73, was joined by the Duchess of Cornwall in the Rwandan capital where they met survivors and perpetrators of the mass genocide and paid homage to the victims by laying a wreath of white roses

Charles, 73, was joined by the Duchess of Cornwall in the Rwandan capital where they met survivors and perpetrators of the mass genocide and paid homage to the victims by laying a wreath of white roses

Charles is representing the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting for the first time since he was chosen to inherit her position as head of the global 'family of nations' in 2018

Charles is representing the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting for the first time since he was chosen to inherit her position as head of the global ‘family of nations’ in 2018

During the engagement, Camilla, 74, wore a navy blue floral tunic dress, paired with heeled nude pumps, pearl earrings and a five motifs Van Cleef & Arpels vintage blue Alhambra bracelet, worth nearly £4,000

During the engagement, Camilla, 74, wore a navy blue floral tunic dress, paired with heeled nude pumps, pearl earrings and a five motifs Van Cleef & Arpels vintage blue Alhambra bracelet, worth nearly £4,000

The Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla were welcomed to the engagement by survivors of the mass genocide on Wednesday

The Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla were welcomed to the engagement by survivors of the mass genocide on Wednesday 

Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall lay a wreath on Wednesday during a visit to the Kigali Memorial for Victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide

Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall lay a wreath on Wednesday during a visit to the Kigali Memorial for Victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide

A wreath of white roses

A card on the wreath that was signed by Charles and Camilla

The couple paid homage to the victims by laying a wreath of white roses that included a card signed by the couple and silver ribbons embossed with the words ‘Never again’

The Prince of Wales has attended five of the 24 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting meetings held since 1971, including Edinburgh in 1997, Uganda in 2007, Sri Lanka in 2013 (where he represented The Queen), Malta in 2015 and the UK in 2018. 

Leaders of Commonwealth countries meet every two years for the meeting which is hosted by a different member country on a rotating basis. 

The Prince of Wales is representing the Queen, head of the Commonwealth, when prime ministers and presidents gather in Rwanda for the global summit.

He faces a potentially awkward meeting with Boris Johnson following the revelation earlier this month that he had privately described the Prime Minister’s Rwandan asylum scheme as ‘appalling’.

Clarence House has declined to comment on ‘supposed anonymous private conversations’ except to restate that Charles remains politically neutral and ‘matters of policy are decisions for government’. Meetings are planned toward the end of the week at which the prince and the Prime Minister will be present.

The prince and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived in the Rwandan capital aboard the ministerial jet RAF Voyager.

Charles will hold several meetings to ‘listen and continue to learn’ about the key issues that the countries of the Commonwealth are facing, particularly over climate change, economic development, opportunities for the young and gender equality.

Ahead of CHOGM, the prince hailed the potential of the Commonwealth to make a difference on issues like climate change or providing opportunities for young people.

He said: ‘Taking shared responsibility to solve problems like these means the Commonwealth has the potential to make a profound difference in the lives of its citizens – and, in so doing, to be an unparalleled force for good in our world.’

Charles has been encouraged by former Rwandan footballer Eric Murangwa to visit a church outside the Rwandan capital where the remains of tens of thousands of genocide victims are buried.

Charles will hold several meetings to 'listen and continue to learn' about the key issues that the countries of the Commonwealth are facing

Charles will hold several meetings to ‘listen and continue to learn’ about the key issues that the countries of the Commonwealth are facing

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall explore the horrors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide as well as the country’s reconciliation efforts

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall explore the horrors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide as well as the country’s reconciliation efforts

The couple participated in a moment of reflection as they paid their respects on Wednesday morning

The couple participated in a moment of reflection as they paid their respects on Wednesday morning 

The Prince of Wales during a visit to the Kigali Memorial for Victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide on Wednesday

The Prince of Wales during a visit to the Kigali Memorial for Victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide on Wednesday 

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall after laying a wreath at the Kigali Genocide Memorial

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall after laying a wreath at the Kigali Genocide Memorial

Charles and Camilla were pictured stepping off the ministerial jet RAF voyager as they touched down in Kigali, Rwanda, for their visit to the country and to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

Charles and Camilla were pictured stepping off the ministerial jet RAF voyager as they touched down in Kigali, Rwanda, for their visit to the country and to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

His arrival comes days after the The Mail revealed that he had privately condemned the UK's Rwandan asylum plan

His arrival comes days after the The Mail revealed that he had privately condemned the UK’s Rwandan asylum plan

Mr Murangwa was sheltered from the killings by teammates, and Charles made him an MBE in recognition of his efforts raising awareness of the genocide against the Tutsi. He is the founder of the organisation Football for Hope, Peace and Unity.

In April, Mr Murangwa was invited to watch as the prince planted a tree at Dumfries House in commemoration of the genocide victims.

CHOGM will take place in Rwandan capital Kigali following its postponement in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Charles last represented the Queen at the event in Sri Lanka in 2013 – a move that was interpreted as preparation for his future role as monarch – and in 2018 he was appointed the monarch’s designated successor as head of the Commonwealth.

The event, which is usually held in a different country every two years, brings together leaders from the 54 Commonwealth nations.

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