The King has spoken of his “love” for Romania as he began a private visit to the country, his first overseas trip since the coronation.
Charles is taking a break from official engagements in the UK but began his trip with a formal bilateral meeting with Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis in the capital Bucharest, followed by a reception.
In a speech, he told the president and guests how, during the 25 years since he first visited the country, he had come to love “your culture and art, your heritage and history, your sweeping landscapes and priceless biodiversity”.
Mr Iohannis hosted a reception in the King’s honour in the Palace of the Parliament’s Union Hall to mark the 25th anniversary since his first visit to the country.
Charles told the guests: “As I have said before, I have come to love Romania – your culture and art, your heritage and history, your sweeping landscapes and priceless biodiversity, this ‘tara de gloria, tara de dor’ (country of glory, country of longing), if I may paraphrase your national poet, Mihai Eminescu.
“Romania has retained, in its ancient forests, pristine countryside, and through some remarkable examples of sustainable farming, an incomparable richness of nature.
Charles has travelled alone, leaving Queen Camilla in the UK, as he has done for previous visits to the eastern European country.
The King has developed a close relationship with Romania, a country he first visited in 1988, and last year he travelled to Bucharest to tour a donation centre for Ukrainian refugees and chatted to people who had fled the Russian invasion of their homeland.
In 2015 he established the Prince of Wales’s Foundation Romania, which offers heritage preservation training courses to local people and international apprentices.
The King is thought to be related to a well-known figure from Romanian history, Vlad the Impaler, said to be the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
The links are through his great-grandmother Queen Mary, the consort of George V, who was descended from the German Wurttembergs and thereby linked to the bloodthirsty Vlad.