Prince Charles expressed his solidarity with the under siege people of Ukraine during a ceremony granting Southend city status following the murder of MP Sir David Amess
Prince Charles has spoken out against the threat to democracy after Russia’s “brutal” invasion of Ukraine.
The Prince of Wales, who once liked Russian President Putin to Nazi leader Hitler, became the first senior royal to speak out in support of Ukraine today when he called for “solidarity.”
Speaking at the ceremony to mark Southend becoming a city today, the Prince paid tribute to murdered local MP Sir David Amess. saying: “What we saw in the terrible tragedy in Southend was an attack on democracy on open society, on freedom itself.
“We are seeing those same values under attack today in Ukraine in the most unconscionable way.
“In the stand we take here, we are in solidarity with all those who are resisting brutal aggression.”
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Charles was in Southend, as the Essex seaside town that was made a city by the Queen, after the two-decade campaign by the late Southend West MP, who was stabbed and killed last October.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have tweeted their support for the Ukrainian people.
The prince referenced the democratic values held by the late Southend West MP, who was stabbed to death, whilst he carried out his constituency surgery.
Charles also spoke of the MPs passion for freedom and democracy and his determination to create Southend a city.
Today’s intervention comes after he memorably came under fire when he compared Putin to Hitler in 2014.
He was talking with a 78-year-old Polish woman who escaped the Nazi Holocaust by sailing to Canada in 1939 – just before Germany seized the city of Gdansk.
“I had finished showing him the exhibit and talked with him about my own family background and how I came to Canada,” the Daily Mail newspaper quoted Marienne Ferguson as saying.
“The prince then said, ‘And now Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler,’” the newspaper quoted her as saying, referring to Russia’s disputed annexation of Crimea.
SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
But Charles came under fire at the time, not least from the Russian government itself.
Charles went on to praise the passion of murdered MP Sir David Amess for his determination to create Southend a city.
He spoke of his pleasure that the late MP’s lifelong ambition had been realized when agreed to make Southend the 52nd city in England.
Sir David’s widow, Lady Amess also received the first ‘Freedom of the City’ on behalf of her late husband.
The unprovoked invasion of neighboring Ukraine by Russian forces on the command of President Vladimir Putin has sparked bloodshed and chaos.
With Putin’s troops shelling cities across Ukraine and the nation’s army vowing to fight to the death to defend their land, observers fear the death toll will be enormous.
On Sunday, February 27, Ukraine’s health minister reported that at least 352 Ukrainian civilians have been killed since the Russian invasion began, and more than 1,000 wounded.
On March 1, Ukraine claimed to have killed 5,710 russian soldiers since the start of the invasion.
These claims have not yet been independently verified but a human rights monitoring team from the United Nations has confirmed more than 500 civilian casualties in Ukraine.
At least 136 people have been killed, including 13 children, a UN report showed on Tuesday.
Bachelet, addressing the opening session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, previously said: “Most of these civilians were killed by explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and air strikes. The real figures are, I fear, considerably higher.”
It comes as Ukraine’s President accused Russia of ‘state terrorism’ on Tuesday after the indiscriminate bombing of Kharkiv.
Sir David Amess spent two decades lobbying for Southend to become a city, mentioning it at every given opportunity in the House of Commons.
He was allegedly stabbed 17 times on 15 October while holding a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
Sir David, who was the MP for Southend West and had been a parliamentarian for 38 years, was pronounced dead at the scene after an incident that sent shockwaves through Westminster and led to a tightening of security for MPs.
In December 2021 Ali Harbi Ali, 25, appeared before the Old Bailey in central London for a pre-trial hearing.
The trial judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, agreed that the trial date could be put back a fortnight, and it was set for 21 March, 2022.
Ali also pleaded not guilty to preparing terrorist acts, according to an indictment, which alleges he carried out reconnaissance of addresses linked to MPs, the Houses of Parliament, and researched the internet for attack targets over the period from May 2019.
Later the royal couple unveiled a new eco-friendly Pier train, which will be named after Sir David Amess MP, meet staff working on the Pier and on behalf of the RNLI and HM Coastguard and meet members of the local community, business and voluntary sector at a reception held at Sands by the Sea restaurant.
The title of city is mainly seen as an opportunity to boost the local economy and attract more tourists and investment, to Southend, that is already served by an airport.
A community-led bid for city status was going to be submitted in December 2021 as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
On 18 October 2021, The Prime Minister announced that Her Majesty the Queen would grant Southend-on-Sea City Status as a tribute to Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West from 1997, who was attacked and died on Friday 15 October 2021 whist carrying out a surgery for his constituents.
Today The Worshipful The Mayor, Cllr Margaret Borton, said: “Formally receiving city status from His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales will be a special moment for Southend-on-Sea, and we are hugely honored to receive a Royal visit from Their Royal Highnesses on what is sure to be a momentous day for our new City.”
Cllr Ian Gilbert, Leader of the Council, said: “This is a landmark day for our new City and indeed our new City Council, and one that will live long in the memory for all of us. To have a Royal visit to formally recognize our new status is wonderful and will go down as a huge day in the history of our City.”
Charles and Camilla today also officially unveiled a new eco-friendly Pier train, which will be named after Sir David Amess MP.