Prince Charles meets Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams

Historical meeting takes place between Prince Charles and Gerry Adams

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Prince Charles made a historical visit to Ireland to meet with the leader of the Sinn Fein party, Gerry Adams. This was the first time a member of the Royal Family met a Political actor from Ireland’s oldest party.

The meeting was scheduled during Charles’ four day visit to the Republic of Ireland with his spouse Camilla.

Mr. Adams was among a number of politicians to greet the prince at a reception at the National University of Ireland Galway.

Gerry Adams also had a private meeting with Prince Charles during the reception. The meeting lasted between 15 - 20 minutes.

Gerry Adams soon afterwards said "Both he and we expressed our regret for what happened from 1968 onwards’’ referencing the bloody conflict for independence.

The Northern Ireland peace process followed decades of conflict and bloodshed between loyal Protestants who wanted to stay in the United Kingdom and Catholic Nationalists who pushed for an integration of Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland.

The International Republican Army (IRA) was previously associated with Sinn Fein, as the military branch of the party. However, Adams acted as the broker for the peace deal between Northern Ireland from 1994 onwards, dismissing any links with the IRA.

Upcoming for Prince Charles is a scheduled visit to the village of Mullaghmore, where Charles’ great uncle Lord Mountbatten was killed by the forces in 1979.

Gerry Adams then approved of the attack, saying "What the IRA did to him is what Mountbatten had been doing all his life to other people."

In Ireland today, Sinn Fein stands in politics as Ireland's second-largest opposition party.

The historic handshake between Charles and Adams is symbolically significant in what many view as a fragile peace process.

"This was agreed to promote the process of resolving past injustices and promoting reconciliation and healing," Sinn Fein’s official website announced.