As part of a ceremony held in the Royal Castle in Krakow, the Prime Minister handed over to Poland the child suit of armour of Sigismund II Augustus.
In his address at the event, Mr Orbán highlighted that this was not such an easy story, but after a while it became clear that justice was on Poland’s side. They are entitled to this treasure, even if “we ourselves became very fond of it”.
He said what complicated the situation even further was that in Hungary – probably the same as in Poland – museologists are the best guardians of national treasures, they protect everything that forms part of national culture, and are reluctant to surrender any item. It was not an easy internal debate in Hungary until it was finally decided that this is how it should be, the armour should be returned to where it belongs, he said.
He recalled that the armour had ended up in Hungary by virtue of a lucky coincidence, a misunderstanding, because it was thought to belong to Louis II of Hungary, “we thought it was ours”. But it later transpired that this was not the case, and that it had belonged to Sigismund II Augustus, he said, adding that the origin of no other suit of armour had ever been studied more thoroughly than the history of this one.
Mr Orbán stressed that they had bowed before facts of history and the truth, and realised that the armour belonged to Poland. When the Polish Prime Minister contacted Hungary with an official request, they adopted the only possible decision which Hungarian-Polish friendship allowed: they returned that which belongs to the Polish people, he said.
The Prime Minister said while by law the armour belongs to the Polish people without doubt, he asked them to allow us “to continue to cherish it in our hearts as ours,” and to take good care of it as Hungary did. They are returning the armour in the hope that, sooner or later, in history everything will fall into place, he added.
The Prime Minister said thank you for the fact that Hungary had the opportunity to safekeep the armour until now.