The Prince of Wales has expressed regret over lives lost in the Troubles in the North, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has said.
Mr Adams said he spoke to Charles in a private meeting about the 1979 IRA bombing in which his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten was murdered.
“Both he and we expressed our regret for what happened from 1968 onwards,” Mr Adams said.
“We were of a common mind and the fact that the meeting took place, it obviously was a big thing for him to do and a big thing for us to do.”
The meeting took place at National University of Ireland Galway after the Sinn Féin President and the Prince shook hands during a reception.
They sat down in a private room for 10 minutes in an engagement attended by the party’s Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and the British ambassador to Ireland Dominick Chilcott.
Lord Mountbatten, the 79-year-old cousin of the Queen of England, was targeted by the IRA as he set off with family and a local teenager to gather lobster pots and fish for shrimp 600 yards from the harbour of the fishing village of Mullaghmore, Co Sligo.
Lord Mountbatten was murdered along with Lady Doreen Brabourne, the 83-year-old mother-in-law of the earl’s daughter, his 14-year-old grandson Nicholas Knatchbull, and 14-year-old Paul Maxwell, from Killynure, Enniskillen.
Mr Adams said the assassination in Mullaghmore was touched upon, along with Bloody Sunday and the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
“We spoke about his loss and also the loss suffered by the Maxwell family, their son Paul, up in Mullaghmore,” Mr Adams said.
Mr Adams said the Prince felt able to empathise with other people who had suffered during the 40 years of violence on the island of Ireland.
“I think it was good that he’s come here and I think it’s good that he has come to Mullaghmore, and I think it’s good that we met,” he said.
“We did discuss the need for the entire process to move forward, particularly in terms of people who’ve suffered, families who’ve been bereaved. The need to heal, to heal relations between the people of these islands and on this island.
“He reflected on the fact that his suffering has given him an affinity and understanding with other people.”
It is understood British royal sources are looking on the meeting as productive and conciliatory.