BERLIN (AP) – King Charles III commemorated the more than 30,000 people, mostly German civilians, killed in the Allied bombing of Hamburg nearly 80 years ago during a visit to the north of the city on Friday the last leg of his first foreign tour since becoming a member. monarch.
The July 1943 attack by British and American planes using incendiary bombs was a response to Nazi Germany’s deadly air raids on Britain. It resulted in a firestorm that destroyed large parts of the city and remains a painful memory in the proud history of the Hanseatic port.
Charles laid a wreath at the ruins of St Nikolay’s church, which is now a memorial site, and listened to Hamburg Bishop Kirsten Fehrs read Coventry’s Litany of Reconciliation, which was written to commemorate the destruction of the English city of Coventry by German bombers in 1940.
Earlier, Charles and Camilla, the queen, visited a memorial to the Kindertransport, or children’s transport, which saw more than 10,000 Jewish children find refuge from Nazi Germany in the United Kingdom in 1938.
The royal couple was accompanied to Hamburg by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, making the two-hour journey from Berlin on the high-speed train.
The couple landed in the German capital on Wednesday, where Steinmeier greeted them at the Brandenburg Gate with full military honors and later hosted a banquet in their honour.
On Thursday, Charles became the first monarch to address the German parliament, telling assembled lawmakers that “we must strive together for the security, prosperity and well-being that our people deserve”. There he met refugees from Ukraine and a German-British military unit before visiting an organic farm where he tried his hand at making cheese.
Charles’ trip is part of a carefully calibrated effort by the UK government to repair broken links with its partners on the continent after Brexit.
Charles had originally planned to visit France, but anti-government protests in the country forced both governments to postpone that part of his trip. The new itinerary highlighted Germany, where Charles has family roots and the royals have long been a subject of interest.
Despite the persistent fog, well-wishers waited patiently to greet Charles and Camilla at their stops in Hamburg, a city that sees itself as having close ties to Britain due to its long sea and trade links.
A boat trip and farewell reception with musical performances, including a Beatles cover band and a seafaring group, will round off the king’s visit.