Wednesday 13 November 2019

Prince Charles will visit scene of attack that killed godfather

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will visit the scene of the Sligo bomb attack that killed his godfather Lord Mountbatten
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will visit the scene of the Sligo bomb attack that killed his godfather Lord Mountbatten
Eithne O'Sullivan at her restaurant in Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo, yesterday, where Prince Charles is due to visit in May

Greg Harkin

Prince Charles and Camilla will visit the scene of the bomb attack that killed his godfather Lord Mountbatten, with relatives of a forgotten victim that day saying they hope to meet him.

Buckingham Palace and the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed the royal couple will spend four days in Ireland, north and south, between May 19 and May 23.

Exact details of their visit are being kept a closely guarded secret but the prince is expected to pause at the spot in Mullaghmore, Co Sligo, where Queen Elizabeth's cousin died on August 27, 1979, in an IRA explosion.

His grandson, Nicholas Knatchbull, just 14, also died alongside local boy Paul Maxwell (15). Dowager Lady Brabourne (82) died later in hospital. In Warrenpoint, Co Down, on the same day, the Provisional IRA killed 18 soldiers as two bombs detonated at Narrow Water.

William Michael Hudson (29) was killed by the British as they returned fire.

He was a coachman for the Queen and had lived with his mother, Patricia Conlon, and his father, Bill Snr, at Buckingham Palace.

The dead man's parents were from Sligo. Bill Snr was the Royal Veterinary Surgeon to Queen Elizabeth's horses. William was buried in Sligo. "I am delighted that he [Charles] is coming to Sligo," said Brian Scanlan, a cousin of the late coachman.

"I am sure Charles knew William. I know he will be here to honour Lord Mountbatten and if at all possible I'd be honoured if he came to see William's grave.

"Our two nations have moved on so much. We are friends now and we need to work together as friends and I think this visit is hugely important."

In Mullaghmore yesterday, a nurse who tended the dying welcomed the visit.

"It was a day just like this, very, very calm and blue skies but a little warmer. Shadow V went out from its usual launch spot in the harbour," said Grainne McHugh, who was a young nurse at the time.

"We heard a bang. I went down to the Pier Head Hotel to help, it became a field hospital. I remember the Dowager and the little twin Timothy Knatchbull waiting in the lobby for an ambulance. It is good Prince Charles is going to visit here," she added.

Eithne O'Sullivan, who runs her seafood restaurant opposite where the Shadow V departed the harbour, said: "We're going to have a history display ready for Prince Charles' arrival."

This will be Charles and Camilla's first official joint visit to Ireland. The prince has officially visited Ireland twice before, in May/June 1995 and February 2002 and the couple did holiday here together in 2004.

Irish Independent

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