Charles calls for Irish-Anglo links to remain strong ‘whatever happens’

The Prince of Wales has made a positive assessment of future Irish-Anglo relations, saying the two nations need to maintain their close friendship.

The heir to the throne spoke of the vital links that exist between the two countries.

Although he did not mention Brexit specifically, he said whatever happened both countries need to remember their close ties.

“We love coming here. Whatever happens, the great thing is to go on understanding how much we mean to each other,” he said.

He made the comments during a speech at Powerscourt House and Gardens in Co Wicklow on the first day of his trip to Ireland with the Duchess of Cornwall.

“If I may say so, it is such a particular joy to be able to visit County Wicklow on this occasion. To receive such a warm and friendly welcome,” he said.

“What makes it so special coming to Ireland, apart from the wonderful welcome, is being able to celebrate and remind ourselves of all those absolutely vital links between us that go back so many hundreds, if not thousands of years.

“To remind us of how much we depend on each other in so many ways. That to me is one of the great things about our relationship.

“As I say, it has given my wife and I such particular joy in the last few years to be able to reinforce those links.”

Royal visit to Ireland – day one
Royal visit to Ireland – day one

The chairman of Wicklow County Council, Pat Vance, also spoke of the enduring relationship between the two countries.

“Our relationship with our neighbours in the UK goes back a long time,” he said.

“As a maritime country, we have traded for centuries with our nearest neighbours. We have helped to build your cities and fought in your army.”

Council chief executive Frank Curran added that “whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, we plan to continue to welcome visitors from the United Kingdom, our nearest neighbours. We hope that we can continue to develop and grow our business with the United Kingdom as we have been doing for centuries.”

Royal visit to Ireland – day one
Royal visit to Ireland – day one

After his speech the prince was presented with a number of gifts including a pot of locally-made honey and a shillelagh stick.

Earlier in the day, Charles and Camilla toured the gardens of the historic estate, taking in the views of the Italian gardens and the Sugarloaf Mountain.

Charles planted a Giant Redwood tree, following in the footsteps of Princess Grace of Monaco, Jackie Onassis and Buzz Aldrin, who have all planted trees in the gardens.

He later joked that he knew the tree would be moved.

“As so often happens to me when planting trees I discover it will immediately be dug up and removed the moment we leave, to be planted at a better time of year. I pray one day I shall be able to come back and see how it is coming on,” he said.

The head gardener of the Powerscourt Estate Alex Slazenger said the type of tree planted by Prince Charles is the largest in the world and should live for 1,000 years.