Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Prince Charles's historic handshake with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams

Share this:

Prince Charles and Gerry Adams shook hands on Tuesday afternoon, marking an important milestone between Britain and Ireland. The heir to the throne had accepted Mr Adams' invitation to meet in Galway, western Ireland, becoming the first member of the British royal family to officially meet the Sinn Fein leader.

charles gerry pa 3 © Photo: PA

Prince Charles and Gerry Adams shake hands on Tuesday

The meeting has been heralded as another important step in promoting peace and reconciliation between the two countries, and took place at the National University of Ireland during Charles's first day of a four-day trip to Ireland.

Mr Adams was amongst a number of Irish politicians who met Charles on Tuesday.

When asked by waiting media if he had anything specific to say to the Prince, he said he did "but I'll say it to him".

charles gerry © Photo: Getty Images

Prince Charles and Gerry Adams shared a few words as they met for the first time

"I don't have any expectations other than this being an engagement which I hope is symbolic and practical, and will assist that entire process," he added.

The meeting was personally significant for the Prince of Wales because his great-uncle Earl Mountbatten was killed by an IRA bomb in 1979. The loss of Lord Mountbatten, who was his mentor, affected him very deeply.

Charles was also joined by his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the pair will travel to the village of Mullaghmore in County Sligo where the assassination took place.

charles gerry 2 © Photo: Getty Images

Charles and Camilla will tour the country for four days

He will attend a service of peace and reconciliation before travelling to Northern Ireland to visit a peace and reconciliation centre in County Antrim.

The meeting follows another historic handshake which took place between the Queen and Martin McGuinness, the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, in 2012. Martin was formerly an IRA commander, and the symbolic gesture came as the monarch visited the Lyric Theatre in Belfast.

Mr Adams has been president of Sinn Fein, which operates on both sides of the border, since 1983, but has always denied being a member of the IRA.

More Royalty

See more