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The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall today visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial where 250,000 are buried in mass graves. It comes as part of the royal couple’s trip to Rwanda for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm).

Charles, wearing a cream suit, and Camilla, in a blue and white dress, looked sombre as they paid their respects.

A wreath of white flowers was laid at the memorial as the royals watched on in silence.

The future king is set to carry out a full day of engagements meeting survivors and perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide.

In 1994 hundreds of thousands of members of the Tutsi community were slaughtered in Rwanda by ethnic Hutu extremists.

The issue of genocide and reconciliation is said to be very close to Charles’s heart and he will visit a village that was targeted.

Charles and Camilla on Tuesday arrived in the capital Kigali aboard the ministerial jet RAF voyager where they were greeted by a small group of dignitaries.

At the steps of the plane was the UK’s High Commissioner to Rwanda Omar Daair, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to the UK Johnston Busingye, Chogm special advisor Yamina Karitanyi and the Prime Minister’s special representative on the Commonwealth Lord Ahmad.

The trip is the first royal visit to Rwanda which is one of just a few of the world’s nations that the Queen has not travelled to.

The heir to the throne is representing the monarch, head of the Commonwealth, as prime ministers and presidents gather in Rwanda for the global summit.

Charles’s visit has been overshadowed by reports that the heir to the throne branded the Government’s policy to send migrants to Rwanda “appalling”.

A source is said to have heard the 73-year-old express opposition to the policy several times in private.

Chogm is taking place in Kigali following its postponement in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid pandemic.

Ahead of the meeting, Charles hailed the potential of the Commonwealth to make a difference on issues like climate change or providing opportunities for young people.

He said: “Taking shared responsibility to solve problems like these means the Commonwealth has the potential to make a profound difference in the lives of its citizens – and, in so doing, to be an unparalleled force for good in our world.”

Charles last represented the Queen at Chogm in Sri Lanka in 2013 in a move that was widely interpreted as preparation for his future role as monarch.

In 2018, he was appointed his mother’s designated successor as head of the Commonwealth.

The event, which is usually held in a different country every two years, brings together leaders from the 54 Commonwealth nations.