The Prince of Wales attended Athens’ military parade to honour the brave fighters of the Greek War of Independence, yet was surprised with a presentation of the capital’s highest distinction: The Gold Medal of Honour.
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, attended the ceremony in Athens to honour Britain’s contribution during the Greek war of 1821, helping destroy a Turkish-Egyptian fleet in the Bay of Navarino, in the western Peloponnese.
The city’s highest honour recognises “a proven friend of Greece and Hellenism, and especially a friend of Athens, its history and its civilisation,” Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis said.
Prince Charles quipped that he didn’t think he’d ever receive a gold medal “at my age”, adding he is even more grateful for the honour.
“The mayor has made such strides in ensuring that Athens becomes a great example of sustainability”, Prince Charles said.
“Because it is crucially important it seems to me that cities like Athens and all around the world are much more involved in the drive towards greater sustainability, decarbonisation of the economy and indeed a regeneration of biodiversity.”
The prince added: “In the meantime, I shall wear this medal with great pleasure and pride as it will always remain as something I shall treasure as a result of this visit to Athens but also of your great kindness and consideration to me after all these years.”
The Prince also received a miniature Greek uniform as a gift from the presidential guards in Athens and in return he gave them a framed photograph of his father as a child dressed as an Evzone guard.
The mayor of Athens made note of the “Terra Carta” initiative, which supports the protection of nature and biodiversity, expressing appreciation that Athens is the first city to sign on. After the event, the mayor and Prince Charles met with representatives of Greek business, who signed on to Terra Carta for the collaboration of public and private sectors.