PORT STANLEY, Falkland Islands (CNN) -- Prince Charles endeared
himself to residents of the Falkland Islands Sunday with support for the
islanders' staunchly British colonial tradition.
"I think you have something quite remarkable here in these islands, and
many realize just what a special part of the world this is," the British royal
heir told the villagers of Goose Green, site of a decisive battle between
British forces and Argentina in 1982.
"And I do hope you will be able to keep it like this for future generations
The prince ate lunch in the community hall where Argentine invaders
imprisoned many villagers during the brief conflict over the islands 17 years
ago. The battle at Goose Green on May 28, 1982, marked a turning point in
Britain's victorious campaign to recapture the islands after Argentine troops
The prince, who is colonel-in-chief of the Paratroop Regiment, looked
solemn as he laid a wreath at the rough stone cairn that commemorates the
20 paratroopers who died at Goose Green, including their commander, Lt.
Col. "H" Jones. One hundred Argentines also died.
Ten paratroopers in maroon berets, led by Goose Green veteran Maj.
Geoffrey Weighell, stood at attention as the prince observed a moment's
silence at the memorial.
"The prince looked very moved to me," Weighell, 42, told reporters. "He
asked me what were my feelings. It's a very moving place -- so peaceful
today, but it was very different 17 years ago."
The Falklands visit capped Charles' weeklong South American tour to mark
a process of reconciliation between Britain and Argentina.
Yet the prince's comments Tuesday during a speech in Buenos Aires
sparked protests when he referred to lingering tensions. He urged Argentina
to "live amicably alongside" the 2,200 residents of the Falklands. Argentina
has laid claim to the islands since 1833.
The islanders greeted Charles at Port Stanley with applause and shouts
"We were grateful for Your Royal Highness' appeal for mutual peace and
understanding between ourselves and Argentina in your recent visit to that
country," the Rev. Alistair McHaffie said during a Sunday sermon at Christ
"And we have been immensely grateful for the support given to us, one of
the world's smallest democracies, by Britain, the world's oldest democracy."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.