LONDON — In search of to salve an outdated wound at a time of sorrow for Britain’s royal household, the political chief of the Irish republican motion apologized on Sunday for the 1979 assassination of Louis Mountbatten, an uncle of Prince Philip.
Mary Lou McDonald, the chief of Sinn Fein, which was as soon as the political wing of the underground Irish Republican Military, informed a London radio station, “In fact, I’m sorry that occurred; in fact, that’s heartbreaking.”
Ms. McDonald provided the landmark apology a day after Queen Elizabeth II buried her husband, Philip, in a ceremony at Windsor Fort that paid tribute to his army profession. His uncle Lord Mountbatten, a celebrated commander throughout World Battle II who later served because the final viceroy of India, overseeing its partition and transition to independence, was killed after a bomb exploded on his fishing boat off the coast of Eire.
The assassination, carried out by members of the I.R.A., was one of many highest-profile assaults throughout the Northern Eire Troubles, and the one which struck closest to the guts of the royal household. Along with his ties to Philip, Lord Mountbatten was pleasant with the queen and a mentor to the couple’s eldest son, Prince Charles.
Chatting with Occasions Radio, Ms. McDonald mentioned Sinn Fein was now engaged in peaceable politics. Requested if she would apologize to Charles for the assassination, she mentioned that British armed forces had carried out violent acts in Northern Eire however added that she regretted the killing of Lord Mountbatten.
“It’s all our jobs to make sure no different baby, no different household, regardless of who they’re, suffers the identical trauma and heartbreak that was all too frequent on all sides of this island and past,” Ms. McDonald mentioned. “I’m joyful to reiterate that on the weekend that your queen buried her beloved husband.”
Lord Mountbatten was vacationing at his Irish residence, Classiebawn Fort, in August 1979 when the I.R.A. positioned a radio-controlled bomb on his boat, detonating it when he was a number of hundred yards offshore, lobster potting with members of his household.
Along with Lord Mountbatten, the explosion killed Woman Brabourne, the mother-in-law of his elder daughter, Patricia; his 14-year-old grandson, Nicholas Knatchbull; and a pal, Paul Maxwell.
The I.R.A. shortly claimed duty for the assault, characterizing Lord Mountbatten, who had as soon as led Britain’s armed forces, as a professional goal in its armed battle in opposition to the British authorities. Gerry Adams, then a high official in Sinn Fein, mentioned on the time, “What the I.R.A. did to him is what Mountbatten had been doing all his life to different individuals.”
Mr. Adams later softened his place, with out giving it up. After a gathering with Charles in 2015, he mentioned each males had expressed remorse for the bloodshed because the Troubles escalated after 1968. However he repeated his rivalry that Lord Mountbatten knew the dangers of touring to Eire throughout that point.
“I stand over what I mentioned then,” Mr. Adams mentioned. “I’m not a type of folks that engages in revisionism. Fortunately the warfare is over.”
Sinn Fein is traditionally recognized by its hyperlinks to the Irish Republican Military, a legacy it has by no means been in a position to shake with older Irish individuals. However underneath Ms. McDonald’s management, the get together has efficiently appealed to youthful city voters with insurance policies to cope with Eire’s acute housing disaster.
In elections final yr, Sinn Fein gained roughly the identical variety of seats in Parliament as every of Eire’s two institution events, Fianna Fail and High quality Gael. Since neither wished to type a authorities with Sinn Fein — partially due to its I.R.A. legacy — they agreed to enter into a proper governing coalition for the primary time.
A senior diplomat famous that Sinn Fein’s gesture introduced it consistent with the remainder of Eire, the place the killing of Lord Mountbatten has lengthy been condemned.
“Sinn Fein’s apology, even when belated, is a welcome step in serving to to go away the previous behind and construct a greater future on the island,” mentioned Bobby McDonagh, a former Irish ambassador to Britain.