ON THE verge of crying, Camilla turns her head away as husband Prince Charles views harrowing images recording atrocities committed by the Nazis during the Second World War.
The Duchess of Cornwall, whose father, Major Bruce Shand won two Military Crosses for his bravery as an Army officer, joined Charles on an emotional visit to the Orthodox Cathedral of Saints Cyril and Methodius in the Czech Republic yesterday.
In 1942, the church in Prague was the scene of a last stand by seven Czech soldiers, who took refuge in the crypt after assassinating the senior SS officer and police general Reinhard Heydrich, known as the Butcher of Prague and once named as Adolf Hitler’s heir.
The soldiers were betrayed to the Gestapo, who sent 800 officers to surround the cathedral with orders to capture the group alive. The Gestapo were forced to storm the church and spent three hours attempting to smoke and flood the men out.
Three of the Czech patriots died defending the nave while the remaining four fought until down to their last bullets, which they used on themselves.
The killing lead to the so-called Heydrich Terror when, in a bid to quash national resistance, the Nazis razed the village of Lidice, 20 miles from the capital. All the men were shot, the women were sent to concentration camps and the children were all sent for adoption in Germany.
As well as viewing the memorial to the victims, the royal couple laid a wreath for the dead. The cathedral visit came as they neared the end of a nine-day tour of eastern Europe, which has already taken them to Poland and Hungary.
Crowds gathered outside Prague’s castle to greet them before their meeting with President Vaclav Klaus and his wife, Livia Klausova which was followed by an official dinner at Prague’s castle hosted by the president.