May 20, 2015 / 12:28 PM / 3 years ago

UK's Charles talks of murdered 'grandfather I never had'

SLIGO, Ireland (Reuters) - Britain’s Prince Charles spoke on Wednesday of the murder of his great uncle Lord Mountbatten in Ireland 36 years ago and called him “the grandfather I never had.”

Britain's Prince Charles (L) shakes hands with Gerry Adams at the National University of Ireland in Galway, Ireland May 19, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Lawless/pool

Speaking ahead of his first visit to the site where the Irish Republican Army (IRA) killed Mountbatten by exploding a bomb on his boat in 1979, Charles said Ireland had endured a history of much pain and resentment where blame was always too easily attributed.

Mountbatten’s death, he added, had given him a profound understanding of the agonies borne by so many people affected by the country’s troubled past.

“At the time I could not imagine how we would ever come to terms with the anguish of such a deep loss,” Charles said in a speech, a day after he shook hands with Gerry Adams in his first meeting with the leader of the former political wing of the IRA.

He added: “For me, Lord Mountbatten represented the grandfather I never had. It seemed as if the foundation of all that we held dear in life had been torn apart irreparably.

“Through this dreadful experience, I now understand in a profound way the agonies borne by so many others in these islands, of whatever faith, denomination or political tradition.”

The IRA ended its 30-year armed campaign against British rule in Northern Ireland as part of a power-sharing peace deal in 1998 between Protestants who want to remain loyal to the British crown and Catholics favoring unification with Ireland.

Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, arrive at the National University of Ireland in Galway, Ireland May 19, 2015. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Writing by Padraic Halpin; editing by Stephen Addison

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