Britain's Prince Charles has described the Russian invasion of Ukraine as "brutal aggression" and expressed his support for the people of Ukraine in their current plight.
It came as the Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, completed a series of engagements in Waterford today as part of their latest visit to Ireland.
Speaking during a visit to Waterford city, Prince Charles said the thoughts and prayers of many people are with those in Ukraine and expressed his admiration for all who are giving them their support.
The couple will continue their trip to Ireland by visiting Tipperary.
This morning the Prince was greeted at the Viking Triangle by Waterford Mayor, Cllr Joe Kelly, as well as council officials and staff from the nearby set of Waterford Treasures museums.
They were then brought inside Waterford’s Medieval Museum for a short tour and a brief history of Waterford and its status as a city since it was granted a royal charter.
Prince Charles and Camilla being given a potted history lesson in Waterford's Medieval Museum by Eamon McEneaney @rtenews pic.twitter.com/A2Aw9juZW6— Conor Kane (@ConorKane0909) March 24, 2022
They met privately with first responders and members of the Ukrainian community in Waterford.
During his speech at a reception in City Hall with members of Waterford City and County Council and other local groups, Prince Charles spoke of his and Camilla’s delight at being back in Ireland, "a country that means more to us than I could possibly say".
He spoke about the "unimaginable" events of the past two years, since the pandemic arrived, and also the current situation in Ukraine.
Britain's Prince Charles has described the Russian invasion of Ukraine as 'brutal aggression'.— RTÉ News (@rtenews) March 24, 2022
Speaking in Waterford he also expressed his support for the people of Ukraine in their current plight | Read more: https://t.co/hhe73TFNfk pic.twitter.com/TGHeOnUV3G
"In the past few weeks our thoughts and I’m sure your thoughts and prayers, however inadequate we feel them to be, are with the people of Ukraine as they continue to face such uncertainty and brutal aggression," he said.
It was an honour to meet with "one or two members of Waterford’s Ukrainian community here today," he said, "and to learn of the actions your country is taking to support them."
He spoke of Waterford’s history, including its location as the place where the tricolour was first flown in 1848, the area’s role in the 1910s and 1920s, and of the way in which the centenaries are being marked "with empathy and sensitivity" during this decade.
Later in the afternoon the couple visited locations that reflect their interests in the outdoors, farming, the environment, and equine sports.
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Yesterday, the couple engaged in some private engagements in the area, having travelled from Northern Ireland, where they were in Co Tyrone and also in Hillsborough Castle in Co Down.
This visit is one of several spring tours being undertaken by senior British royals to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's platinum jubilee.
Charles has been in this country many times since his first official visit in 1995 and has previously spoken of his wish to see every Irish county.
But this is the couple's first trip here since pre-pandemic times. They were in Dublin and Wicklow in 2019, their fifth spell here in five years.
Rolling traffic diversions were in place in parts of Waterford city throughout the day, amid tight security measures in the area.
Keen environmentalist Charles also met farmers, officials and community organisers to see the work being done to produce food and drink more sustainably.
This afternoon, Camilla visited the stables of Henry De Bromhead at Knockeen outside Waterford and Tramore.
She met stable staff as well as the trainer himself - responsible for the Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle winners last week at Cheltenham - and was also greeted by jockey Rachael Blackmore, who rode those winners, as well as becoming the first woman jockey to ride an Aintree Grand National winner last year.
Meanwhile, Charles went to the headquarters of the Grow it Yourself sustainable food enterprise where he was given a tour by GIY founder Michael Kelly, and shown the art of planting and digging for potatoes by pupils of the local Scoil Lorcain.
The afternoon ended with a visit to the farm of Shane Fitzgerald outside Portlaw, where he learned about soil and water quality, biodiversity and carbon sequestration in hedgerows.
The royals' Ireland tour is due to end with a trip to the Rock of Cashel, following in the footsteps of Charles' mother, the Queen, who went to the site during her historic state visit in 2011.
Royal visitors depart from Waterford City. All traffic restrictions in the city centre have now been lifted. pic.twitter.com/lqsAyjvesd— An Garda Síochána (@GardaTraffic) March 24, 2022