On Thursday, The Duke of Kent attended a ceremony in Dresden to mark the 75th anniversary of the bombing of the city.
During the event, Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier made a speech highlighting the rise of hatred and the desire for strongman and patriarchal authoritarianism in Europe, saying it’s time to stand up to extremism and nationalism.
Steinmeier added: “It was Germans who began this gruesome war, we won’t forget the German guilt. And we stand by the responsibility that remains.”
Concerning far-right parties, the President said: “If elected lawmakers make the parliaments in which they sit look foolish and ridiculous, then that’s an attempt to destroy democracy from within.”
“It’s not enough for democrats to shudder and turn away in disgust. We have to reject all forms of hatred and incitement, speak out against insults and counter prejudice.”
“We all, each in their own way, carry a responsibility for the way we live together and for the democracy in our country. That, too, is a lesson from the wrong track Germany took, which led to the destruction of Dresden.”
After the speech, the President joined The Duke of Kent and many other people from of Dresden, forming a human peace chain outside the city’s iconic Frauenkirche. The gesture symbolises reconciliation, also commemorating the victims of the Nazi regime and mass bombings during World War II.
Later on, His Royal Highness received a warm welcome at Dresden’s Semper Opera, where he presented the Dresden Peace Prize.
The association “Friends of Dresden Deutschland e.V.“ was founded in 2009 and has initiated and offered the Dresden Peace Prize to those working for peace and reconciliation. The Duke of Kent has been Royal Patron of the organisation for more than 25 years and was awarded the Dresden Peace Prize in 2015.
This year’s laureate, Kim Phuc Phan Thi, received the award from the Duke. She is the child – sometimes called ‘Napalm girl – depicted in the award-winning photograph taken during the Vietnam War, shortly after a Napalm attack in 1972. Her work in support of Unesco and children wounded in war earned Kim Phuc the honour.
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) February 16, 2015
The Queen’s cousin also stopped by Technische Universität Dresden during his visit, to hear about the partnership with King’s College London.
During his visit to Dresden, The Duke of Kent also visited @tudresden_de yesterday.
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) February 12, 2019