Prince Charles shared a historic handshake with Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, during his four-day visit to the Republic of Ireland. Mr. Adams was among the politicians that greeted the prince during a reception at the National University of Ireland Galway, on Tuesday. This first meeting between Gerry Adams, an iconic figure of the Irish republican movement, and a member of the Royal Family is being viewed as an important milestone in the still fragile reconciliation process. After the reception, Mr. Adams had a 20-minute private meeting with Prince Charles.

Before he helped to broker peace in Northern Ireland, Gerry Adams had been associated with the IRA's ruling army council when the organization planned several criminal and terrorist attacks against protestant loyalists and the royals. He firmly denies ever being a member of the organization. Shortly after the historic handshake, Mr. Adams added that "today's meeting with Prince Charles is a significant symbolic and practical step forward in the process of healing and reconciliation arising from the peace process".

Also present in the meeting was Sinn Féin deputy leader and First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuiness. He has admitted to having been an IRA commander until 1974 and also made history when he shook hands with the Queen, in Belfast, in 2012.

Ahead of Tuesday's meeting with Prince Charles, Mr. McGuiness said that "there's a responsibility on all of us to try to use these acts of reconciliation to encourage other people to join with us on the journey. As far as I can see, we are dealing with people like Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles who like me wish to rise about old enmities and are not interested in creating obstacles for people on the route to peace".

During his four-day trip to Ireland, Prince Charles will visit the village of Mullaghmore, where his great-uncle, Lord Mountbatten, was killed by an IRA bomb during a boat trip in 1979, before travelling north of the border to visit a centre for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.