Charles, Camilla: Big Splash in Big Apple

Charles, Camilla: Big Splash in Big Apple

11/02/2005 AT 08:00 AM EST

Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, began their eight-day "Getting to Know You" tour of the U.S. on Tuesday with a visit to Manhattan's Ground Zero and the dedication of a British Memorial Garden to honor victims of 9/11.

"Both my wife and I were profoundly moved by what we saw," the prince said about their visit to the site of the former World Trade Center, where the two spent about 10 minutes studying the mementos in tribute to the 2,749 victims of the tragedy, including 67 Britons. "Not just by the scale of the outrage but the deeply distressing individual stories of heroism and of loss," Charles said, according to reports.

"Our hearts go out to you today as they did on that dreadful day. Both our nations have been united by grief and strengthened by the support we have given one another."

New York Gov. George Pataki then escorted them to Hanover Square, a narrow triangular park near Wall Street and the former towers.

After being presented with a bouquet of flowers by a little girl in a tartan dress, the royal couple greeted dignitaries and then strolled around the temporary plantings before tugging at either end of a dark green drape to unveil the center stone, embossed with the crest of the Prince of Wales.

The prince was making his first official visit to the United States since 1994, when he came with the late Princess Diana.

The day played out with Charles's visit to the United Nations, where he met Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Camilla then joined him for an all-star reception at the Museum of Modern Art, where the New York Post said of Camilla's "dowdy" blue-velvet dress: "Queen Camilla is New York's Frump Tower." Still, many of the paper's columnists found her extremely gracious.

Wednesday, Charles and Camilla are off to the White House, for a formal dinner with President and Mrs. Bush.

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