Prince Charles on Friday afternoon ended a three-day official visit to Romania, where he met governmental officials, leaders of cultural oganisations and NGOs.
On the first day of his visit, the royal laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Carol Park in Bucharest City and was awarded the Star of Romania in the rank of Grand Cross decoration by President Klaus Iohannis as a token of high esteem for the Prince’s activity in Romania and for his promotion of Romania’s picture abroad.
On Thursday, the Prince of Wales toured the Dimitrie Gusti Village Museum of Bucharest, the Vacaresti Delta Nature Park and the FARA Romania Foundation. Also on Thursday, he was welcomed by Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu and Patriarch of the Romanian Christian Orthodox Church Daniel. In the evening, he went to Elisabeta Palace and he was celebrated at a reception party hosted by the Athenee Palace Hilton Hotel.
On Friday, the last day of the visit, the royal took a stroll in the capital city’s old town, where he visited the Stavropoleos Church, after which he watched a show at the National Theatre. Prince Charles ended his visit with a call on the Cass Sperantei Hospice, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in Romania.
Prince of Wales pays visit to Hospice Casa Sperantei, HRH impressed by children
His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales visited, on Friday, the headquarters of the Hospice Casa Sperantei (Hospice House of Hope) in the Capital (see photo), where he talked to the adult patients, but also the children that benefit from the services of the daycare centre, sitting with them at the table where they were decorating Easter eggs.
His Royal Highness was greeted by founder of the organization, Graham Perrols, and the executive director, Mirela Nemteanu.
In the discussion with Graham Perrols, Prince Charles showed interest in the social-medical centre that will be opened near the Capital, in Adunatii Copaceni.
Once he reached the unit destined for adults, His Royal Highness shook hands with the staff and wanted to know how many nurses work in that section. Later, he entered two salons, where he discussed with patients, in order to find out more about the conditions they benefit from.
At the third floor of the Hospice Casa Sperantei headquarters, which hosts the paediatrics section, the psychologist and coordinator of the daycare center told His Royal Highness that the beneficiaries have recreative activities scheduled and invited them to join in. The Prince took a chair, next to Maria, a girl who extended her hand towards him.
‘If you’re Prince Charles, know that I made these for you. […] They’re not what I expected, but they’re beautiful, I want to give them to you’, said the girl, pointing to five decorated eggs.
HRH offered his thanks, and the girl replied that she knows “only a few words in English” and then rushed to prove it, counting to twelve. She then added the words ‘milk’ and ‘book’.
Prince Charles asked her if she also knows to count in Romanian and the girl responded she knows.
A boy aged six gave the Prince of Wales an Easter greeting card, for which the Prince of Wales offered his thanks.
“By the way, I am eleven”, Maria intervened.
“Eleven?”, HRH asked.
Later, the Prince of Wales participated in a cake cutting ceremony on the occasion of the 25 year anniversary of Hospice Casa Sperantei’s activity, thus marking a quarter century since a very small team, assembled on the initiative of an English volunteer, introduced the notion of palliative care to Romania, conducting house visits.
The Prince of Wales cut the first piece of cake, that he offered to one of the girls.
HRH also spoke a bit with the mothers of the children from the daycare centre who were sat at a table, decorating Easter eggs. He wished to meet Maria’s mother.
The Prince conveyed that she liked Maria very much and that she is a very special girl.
At the end of his visit, His Royal Highness met with supporters, sponsors and partners of Hospice Casa Sperantei, among them being also former Health Minister, Vlad Voiculescu, as well as film critic Irina Margareta Nistor. The same room hosted an exhibition of images from the social-medical center that will be opened near the Capital, at Adunatii Copaceni, where works are in full force.
Alongside Prince Charles, Ambassador of the UK to Romania Paul Brummell and Mayor of the District 2 Mugur Mihai Toader also visited the Hospice Casa Sperantei (Hospice House of Hope).
‘Hospice Casa Sperantei’ is a charitable foundation established in 1992 with the purpose of improving the quality of life for persons with incurable diseases and their families. The foundation has as a mission the development of palliative care services, through the formation of some professionals that would be active in Southeast Europe. Moreover, on a national level, the organization draws attention on these subjects through support, promotion, education and fundraising activities.
The first centre with integrated services of palliative care was opened in 2002 in Brasov, and in 2005 the Hospice services extended to Bucharest, through the implementation of mobile teams that would grant home care to the sick. In 2008, such mobile teams were implemented in Fagaras and Zarnesti too. 2014 saw the inauguration of a modern centre for palliative care, and two years later the paediatrics section with integrated care services opened.
Since its establishment in 1992, the organization offered services to more than 20,000 patients. The foundation is an authority in matters palliative care education, with over 11,000 graduates of specialty courses, both in Romania, as well as in neighboring states. The services of the foundation are free and offered unconditionally to patients and their families. The organization has over 200 employees and is also aided by 200 volunteers.
Prince Charles takes to the TNB stage, visits scenery workshop, watches show in his honor
Prince Charles visited, on Friday, around lunch, the Bucharest National Theatre (TNB), where he was greeted by director of the theatre, Ion Caramitru, and by the director of the British Council, Nigel Bellingham.
His Royal Highness took to the stages of the theatre, saw how the stage scenery is built in the carpentry workshop, and participated in a special show put on for his visit, that included moments from the plays put on by actors Ion Caramitru, Dan Puric, the actors of the “ArtOrchestra” and moments of folk music.
The Prince of Wales met, on this occasion, Ilinca Tomoroveanu – the artistic director of the theatre and Romeo Belea – the architect of the project to preserve the National Theatre.
Since entering, Ion Caramitru informed the Prince of Wales that the “patron” of the Bucharest National Theatre is the great Romanian playwright Ion Luca Caragiale.
His Royal Highness and all those who accompanied on his visit went up also to the cafe at the top of the building, where Romeo Belea spoke of the project to consolidate the theatre, which was completed four years ago.
Later on, the Big Hall of the Bucharest National Theatre was visited. It was here that the Prince of Wales took to the stage, together with Ion Caramitru.
The director of the theatre then made an acoustics demonstration of the hall, interpreting a short fragment in English, then showed the Prince of Wales an image from a TNB presentation catalogue with the hall during communist times.”I remember”, said, in context, the Prince of Wales, according to Agerpres.
“It’s one of the largest stages in Europe. It’s the size of a football field”, Caramitru emphasized.
In the deafening sound of machinery, His Royal Highness had brief conversations with the workers of the carpentry workshop of the Bucharest National Theatre, being curious of the processes they go through.
After this moment, the Prince of Wales went through the wonderful scenery of the ‘Media Hall’ of the Theatre, reaching the “Studio Hall”, where he was awaited by 100 persons – youths that study English at the British Council, pupils of Romanian schools that have partnerships with the British Council and staff of the National Theatre and the British Council.
In the “Studio Hall”, presented as unique in Europe by the Director of the Bucharest National Theatre, the Prince of Wales witnessed a special show put on for his visit by Ilinca Tomoroveanu. The show, which lasted over 30 minutes, was opened by the actors that play in the “ActOrchestra”, defined as a “show with laughter included”.
A folk ensemble, together with two violinists, set the tone of the show, which continued with a fragment of Shakespeare’s opera interpreted by Ion Caramitru in English. The show concluded with the famous Romanian folk dance dubbed the “Calusul” – the horse-tamer.
The actors of the “ActOrchestra” conducted another moment that brought the spectators to the world of the circus through the costumes and props used, as well as the ‘instruments’ – horns used on old cars. Towards the end of the representation, they threw giant balloons towards the public, the Prince of Wales playing along and touching one of the balloons.
The show ended with the music of the folk ensemble, and after this moment, the Prince of Wales watched a video clip that showed the transformation of the Studio Hall. He recognized some of the actors, among them Anca Sigartau and Dan Puric, declaring himself impressed by their performance, but also some persons of the staff of the British Council.
At the end of the visit to the Bucharest National Theatre, the Prince of Wales received a gift from the institution and saluted the three actors of the “ActOrchestra”.
“Our gift, made by a colleague, which works in the scenery department, is a representation of a folk orchestra, made of papier-mâché, which is the base material for scenery, so wet paper sculpted by hand”, Ion Caramitru told the Prince of Wales.
Theatre director Caramitru on Prince Charles’s feelings for Romania: His is a genuine, deep love
Prince Charles has a genuine, deep-going love for Romania, says Director of the Bucharest National Theatre House (TNB) Ion Caramitru.
“His is genuine, deep-going; he has purchased peasant homes, he is supporting biological agriculture (…) he is helping with scholarships, he cared for the former Mihai Eminescu Trust and is now caring for the eponymous foundation, he is returning so often (…) This is his second official visit but in between them there were countless private visits, some of which I attended ,” Caramitru said Friday at the end of Prince Charles’s visit to TNB
He went on to say that Prince Charles confessed to him that he was impressed by the Stavropoleos Church.
“As we were leaving, he told me briefly about the Stavropoleos Church, which he visited in the day and impressed him a great deal. I know he was at the Village Museum yesterday, where things are exceptional. I believe he has got to see everything that is precious and significant about Bucharest. This seems to me like a well-planned visit,” said Caramitru.
He added that at TNB, Prince Charles toured the Grand Hall foyer, the Grand Hall, the carpentry workshop, a stage scenery mounted in the Painting Room, foyers turned into arts galleries and entered the building through the artists’ entrance to Audio Hall.
“This was a one-hour, well packed visit. (…) What happened at the National Theatre for one hour? Besides the prince touring the building and the important halls, he watched a show, a 35-minute show of young TNB artists presenting excerpts from various shows, joined by Dan Puric and his company for a step dance sketch to the accompaniment of the Emy Dragoi band; I also joined in with English excerpts from Marin Sorescu and Mihai Eminescu, and so did Anca Sigartau, who sang in Romanian alongside three TNB young artists starring in ActOrchestra shows (…). The entire show was a success, for which His Royal Highness thanked us,” said Caramitru, Agerpres informs.
HRH pays brief visit to Capital’s Old Centre
Prince Charles paid a brief visit to the Capital’s Old Centre on Friday, among the landmarks visited by His Royal Highness being Manuc’s Inn, one of the oldest in Europe, and Stavropoleos Church.
His Royal Highness’ itinerary began at Manuc’s Inn, where he stayed for a few minutes. In fact, Prince Charles wanted to find out, from his guide, architectural historian Valentin Mandache, details about the manner in which the historic landmark was preserved in time.
On his stroll, Prince Charles admired the Old Court Voivodal Palace and Vlad the Impaler’s bust.
After having left Manuc’s Inn, Prince Charles continued the walk on French Street and then on Post Street. On his way, he asked details especially on the architectural monuments that were in a state of decay, and discussed with the initiators of the “Monument Ambulance” project.
The Prince of Wales continued his walk to Stavropoleos Church, where he was greeted by priest Iustin Marchis.
“Welcome back, after 20 years. We have changed our appearance a bit. We were under restoration, now we are in preservation, and we are more alive, there is more life,” priest Marchis said.
In Savropoleos Church, His Royal Highness witnessed a short religious music performance and visited a photo exhibition organised by “Pro Patrimonio” Foundation, and received from priest Iustin Marchis a book on Oltenia. Moreover, the Prince of Wales admired the old art collection of the church.
“You will suddenly fall in love with Oltenia,” father Marchis told Prince Charles while offering him the book.
At the end of the visit, the Prince signed the guest book of Stavropoleos Church.
“We try to present what the situation is and the attempts we are making in Oltenia and Moldova,” Pro Patrimonio representative Serban Sturdza told AGERPRES, referring to the photography exhibition.
The time spent by His Royal Highness in Bucharest’s Old Centre hasn’t passed unnoticed by Bucharesters. Some awaited for him with curiosity in front of Stavropoleos Church, others took pictures from the windows of their homes.