Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla pay their respects on inaugural royal visit to Rwanda as they remember the 1994 Genocide

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall issued thanks to those who bravely shared their stories with them during their visit.

Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla pay their respects during a visit to the Kigali Memorial
(Image credit: Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla paid their respects during an inaugural royal visit to Rwanda as they remembered the 1994 Genocide. 

As senior members of the extended Royal Family and future King and Queen Consort, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla regularly undertake overseas visits, with several taking place this year. Their most recent trip abroad during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year has seen the couple make an inaugural royal visit to Rwanda. On the first day in the country’s capital, Kigali, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall reflected on the Genocide of 1994 and paid their respects to victims.

Sharing powerful photographs, the Clarence House social media accounts revealed that Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla had visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial as they shared, “We remember all victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi”. 

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This important place of remembrance is also the final resting place for over 250,000 of what were approximately 1 million victims of this horrific Genocide, where Hutu extremists killed members of the Tutsi community. 

Both royals looked incredibly moved by this deeply poignant Memorial and they laid a special wreath in tribute, complete with a handwritten letter from the eldest of the Queen’s children. According to OK! (opens in new tab), the note read, “In everlasting remembrance of those who died in the genocide against the Tutsi”.  

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial, where they laid a wreath

(Image credit: Photo by Arthur Edwards - Pool/Getty Images)

The Prince and Duchess also met with women from the Rwanda Women’s Network Village of Hope which is dedicated to supporting women survivors of the Genocide. They provide training on vocational skills as well as shelter and subsidized school fees.

As well as learning more about this vital organization, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla also visited the Nyamata Church. During the Genocide it’s thought that around 10,000 gathered there, perceiving it as a place of safety amid the atrocities. Thousands of people were killed and the church has now become one of Rwanda’s six national memorial sites.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales listens during his visit to the Mbyo reconciliation village

(Image credit: Photo by Jonathan Brady - Pool/Getty Images)

Over 45,000 victims of the 1994 Genocide are buried in its grounds and during the royals’ visit in Kigali, they heard brave stories from both perpetrators and victims at the Mbyo reconciliation village. Reconciliation villages such as this allow the painful testimonies of all to be shared and help to build resilience for communities to live together and begin to leave the past in history.

Reflecting on their visit, the royal couple issued thanks in their social media caption for the bravery it took for so many to share their personal stories despite all they’d been through. 

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“Thank you for bravely sharing your stories and for showcasing such an extraordinary example of forgiveness,” Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla declared. 

In the comments, fans echoed this sentiment, with one writing, “Certainly a day full of emotions for the survivors and Their Royal Highnesses”. 

“We should never forget how destructive hatred is”, another declared.

Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla’s visit to Rwanda is the first for the British Royal Family and will be attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on behalf of the Queen during their time there. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.