Prince Charles to make Mountbatten murder pilgrimage

The wreckage of Lord Mountbatten's boat is examined at Mullaghmore harbour after his murder in August 1979
The wreckage of Lord Mountbatten's boat is examined at Mullaghmore harbour after his murder in August 1979

The Prince of Wales will make an emotional trip to Mullaghmore in the west of Ireland where his great uncle Lord Mountbatten was assassinated by the IRA, officials have confirmed.

The stop-off will be a poignant moment in a four-day trip later this month, the first official joint visit by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall to Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Lord Mountbatten was killed on August 27, 1979, when a remote-control IRA bomb blew apart his pleasure boat at Mullaghmore in Co Sligo, where his family often enjoyed holidays.

The 79-year-old – who was also the Queen’s cousin – had a close relationship with Charles.

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said the pilgrimage was made possible by extensive preparatory work involving the British Embassy, Clarence House and Irish authorities, and would strengthen relations between the two countries.

“This visit to the west of Ireland further cements the reconciliation work of recent decades, to which Prince Charles has made a strong contribution through his previous visits to Ireland,” he said.

“I look forward to joining the visit programme in Sligo, where this theme of peace and reconciliation will be highlighted in particular.”

Both Charles and Camilla will begin their trip to Ireland on May 19 with a reception at the National University of Ireland Galway followed by a visit to Ireland’s Marine Institute.

They will then travel to the Burren in Co Clare, an ancient and dramatic stony outcrop famed for its rare plant life, biodiversity and archaeology.

Later, they will join President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina for a private dinner.

The Royal couple will visit Sligo on their second day, including a service of peace and reconciliation at St Columba’s Church, in Drumcliffe, where Irish poet William Butler Yeats is buried.

They will then travel to nearby Mullaghmore, where they will meet with locals. Later in the day, the pair will attend the Sligo Races.

On May 21, Charles and Camilla will arrive in Northern Ireland where they will attend a reception and concert at Hillsborough Castle, outside Belfast.

The following day, they will take in stately home Mount Stewart, run by the National Trust.

They will also visit Corrymeela, Northern Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation centre.

A spokesman for Clarence House said: “Both visits will recognise the warm friendship and close co-operation that exists between the UK and Ireland, with peace and reconciliation being one of the main themes of Their Royal Highnesses’ programme; alongside heritage, community, conservation and innovation.”