Speaking in Sligo on Wednesday morning about his planned afternoon visit to Mullaghmore, Prince Charles revealed he had wanted to visit the village for a very long time.
Referring to the death of his great uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten and three other people in 1979, he said at that time he could not imagine how he could come to terms with his great uncle’s death.
Speaking at Sligo’s Model Arts Centre he described Lord Mountbatten as the grandfather he never had. He talked about his grief at the time of the Mullaghmore deaths.
“It seemed as if the foundations of all we held dear in life had been torn apart irreparably,” he said.
He said through the dreadful experience of those deaths he now understood in a profound way the agonies borne by so many others in these islands of whatever faith, denomination or political tradition.
He said that despite the tragedy of what happened in 1979 the memories that Lord Mountbatten’s family have of Classiebawn Castle in Mullaghmore, going right back to 1946, are of great happiness.
“I look forward to seeing at last the place he and they so loved and to meeting its inhabitants. Many of them shared the most extraordinary outpouring of compassion and support to both Lord Mountbatten’s and to Paul Maxwell’s families in the aftermath of the bombing.
“Their loving kindness has done much to aid the healing process.”
He also referred to the remarks made by his mother in Dublin Castle when she made her State visit in 2011. She said then that with ‘historical hindsight’ we can all see things we wish had been done differently or not at all.
He concluded by saying as a grandfather he had a desire to leave a lasting legacy of peace and friendship.
On Wednesday afternoon Prince Charles and his wife were met by approximately 500 people who crammed near the pier area of Mullaghmore.
At 5.05pm the prince and his entourage arrived in the village having used ‘The Around the Head’ route before their car stopped outside the Pier Head Hotel. Just before that the prince and his wife had stopped off in Classiebawn Castle where Lord Mountbatten and his family had spent many happy years. He met locals at the Star of the Sea Peace and Reconciliation Centre.
In cool but dry conditions, Prince Charles and Camilla were accorded a very warm welcome in the village which was regarded as a home from home for his beloved great uncle. At 5.50pm a cavalcade of 12 vehicles left the village bound for Sligo Races.