Caption: Associated Press: Prince Charles stands, with his head
bowed, Tuesday after placing a wreath among the floral tributes in remembrance
of those killed in the Lockerbie, Scotland, air tragedy.
Prince Charles, bringing condolences five weeks after the crash of Pan Am Flight 103, gave an extra hour Tuesday to a town that felt snubbed by the royal family.
The heir to the throne listened and talked to relatives of the 11 people killed in Lockerbie Dec. 21 and laid an elaborate floral tribute at the town hall. He charmed children and paused for a whiskey before leaving more than an hour behind schedule - but with new admirers.
``It says a lot for him that he had the courage to come. It is
a great honor,`` said store manager Robert Devlin.
``I thought it was a bit late in the day`` for his visit, said Anne McPhail, whose neighbors` houses are in ruins, ``but now I feel better about it. You see, we all make mistakes. You can always rectify them, can`t you?``
Charles visited the crater gouged by the falling Boeing 747 in the Sherwood Crescent neighborhood, where all of Lockerbie`s victims lived.
The bomb that brought down Flight 103 also killed all 259 aboard.
Charles`s visit with the families, scheduled to last 20 minutes, stretched into more than an hour as he met with them in groups of 10 or fewer. The town`s three clerics guided the visits.
``It was a very worthwhile visit, and I think everyone is much the better for it,`` said the Rev. James Annand, the local Church of Scotland minister.
``It shows the value of having a monarchy,`` he said.
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, had come to Lockerbie the day after the crash, but offended some with remarks that seemed to show him more concerned about the American bereaved than those of Lockerbie.
``I am pleased that the prince has come to make amends for his brother,`` a bystander said as Charles toured Lockerbie.
On Jan. 4, the press was scathing when the royals stayed away from a memorial service in Lockerbie attended by relatives of the families, Pan Am staff and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
The royals sent local representatives, and Buckingham Palace said
it was not customary for Queen Elizabeth II to attend such events in person.
But then, to the anger of some Lockerbie residents, the palace announced
that the queen`s husband, Prince Philip, would fly to Japan for the funeral
of Emperor Hirohito.