Britain's Prince Charles in Greece for 3-day official visit

Prince Charles, Alexis TsiprasThe Associated Press
Britain's Prince Charles, right, is welcomed by the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras prior their meeting in Athens, on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. The Prince of Wales, heir to the British throne, and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall are paying a three-day visit to Greece, where Charles' paternal ancestors once reigned. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Britain's Prince Charles embarked Wednesday on an official visit to Greece, the birthplace of his father and kingdom of his paternal great-grandfather.

The heir to the British throne met Greece's left-wing prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, who told Charles that the three-day visit was a landmark in the relations between their two countries.

Charles was accompanied by his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Greek public opinion is staunchly anti-royalist. The country has been a republic since 1973.

The prince is due to meet the head of Greece's Orthodox Church on Thursday, and visit a 108-year-old warship that now serves as a floating museum berthed in Athens.

The Greek armored cruiser was used in 1946 to carry the body of Charles' paternal grandfather, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, from southern France where he died to Athens, for burial in a royal estate outside the city.

On Friday, the royal couple will visit the southern island of Crete.

The Prince of Wales has visited the country several times in a private capacity. The Greek Orthodox monastic community of Mount Athos — a wooded peninsula forbidden to women for the past 1,000 years — particularly has captured his interest.

His father, Prince Philip, was born on the northwestern Greek island of Corfu, but left while very young after his own father was banished. Charles' great-grandfather was King George I of Greece, the country's longest-reigning monarch.