Prince Harry's visit to Estonia and Italy
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Prince Harry will meet a range of veterans during his three-day official visit to Estonia and Italy from 16 till 19 May 2014.
The visits to Estonia and Italy are in support of the UK Government and are being organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
On 16th May, in Estonia, Prince Harry will lay a wreath at the monument to the War of Independence in Freedom Square (Vabaduse väljak) in Tallinn. After the ceremony The Prince will attend a reception at the Estonian Parliament (Riigikogu), where he will meet Estonian Ministers and MPs as well as wounded veterans who will take part in the Invictus Games. The Invictus Games is an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Service personnel, which will take place in London from 10-14 September 2014. The event, which was launched by Prince Harry in March this year will see more than 300 wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women, serving and veteran from the armed forces competing in various sporting events including Athletics, Archery, Wheelchair Basketball, Road Cycling, Indoor Rowing, Wheelchair Rugby, Swimming, Sitting Volleyball and a driving challenge.
On 17th May Prince Harry will meet the President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, when he visits the Estonian Defence Forces at their annual military exercise Kevadtorm (Spring Storm), to thank them for their work with British troops in Afghanistan. Estonia has had a company of soldiers in Afghanistan since 2006, who have been directly under British command during their deployment. Some wounded Estonian soldiers were treated alongside UK soldiers at Headley Court in the UK.
In Italy, Prince Harry will attend a number of events commemorating the Allied Campaign in Italy during WWII, focussing on the 70th anniversary of the Battles of Monte Cassino. The four battles of Monte Cassino took place between January and May 1944 and involved some of the most brutal fighting of the Second World War between Allied and Axis forces. The battles involved allied troops from the UK, Poland, USA, France, New Zealand and a number of other Commonwealth countries.
On 18th May Prince Harry will start the day at the Polish commemoration service ceremony where he will lay a wreath on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen. His Royal Highness has been invited to attend the Polish service by the Prime Minister of Poland, Donald Tusk. The Prince will then visit the Abbey of Monte Cassino, the original sixth-century Benedictine Monastery was destroyed during the battles in 1944 and rebuilt a decade later. During his visit to the Abbey, Prince Harry will meet wounded Italian veterans some of whom will be taking part in the Invictus Games in London in September 2014.
Later that day, Prince Harry will attend the New Zealand commemoration service at the Cassino Commonwealth War Cemetery where he will lay wreath and meet New Zealand veterans. Prince Harry will then return to Rome where he will attend an event at the MAXXI National Museum of Contemporary Arts. During the event, HRH will unveil the winning design for the UK pavilion at Milan EXPO 2015.
On the 19th May, Prince Harry will return to the Cassino Commonwealth War Cemetery to attend the British Service of Remembrance and meet veterans who fought at Cassino and elsewhere during the Italian Campaign. The Prince will be joined by Lord Astor, Under Secretary of State and the Lords Spokesman on Defence.
Notes to Editors
Prince Harry has previously visited Italy on one occasion, privately, as a child. This will be his first visit to Estonia. Accreditation details for the Italian and international press (with the exception of UK press) will be published shortly.