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Charles, who was joined by Gardeners' Question Time personality Eric, made an alternative sartorial statement in an embroidered brown robe. The wool garment was apparently a gift received during a foreign tour
Photo: © PA
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'Boho' Charles robes up for gardening programme

4 APRIL 2007

His wardrobe might be thought to consist mainly of Savile Row suits, rustic tweeds and ceremonial garb, but Prince Charles showed a more bohemian side on Tuesday as he welcomed Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time to Highgrove. Taking a leaf out of boho queen Sienna Miller's book - she recently made a bold appearance in large black knickers and once wore a swimming costume to a lunch date - the heir to the throne turned heads in what appeared to be an embroidered dressing gown.

Teamed with some trusty wellies and a scarf, the green-fingered royal's thick woollen garment echoed the flamboyant attire favoured by larger-than-life literary figures Oscar Wilde and Lord Byron. According to aides, Charles was given the item during a recent foreign tour - most likely Pakistan. "It would have been a gift," confirmed a Clarence House spokesperson," adding: "He likes to go walking in it."

The Prince was joined by Eric Robson, chairman of the Radio 4 show, at his estate in Gloucestershire. During an interview to mark the programme's 60th anniversary, Charles explained that his interest in gardening began as a child when he and his sister Princess Anne were given a small vegetable patch to tend at Buckingham Palace.

The keen environmentalist also used the opportunity to talk about his views on global warming and his campaign to protect rare native breeds of cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens. Saying he'd faced "a chorus of ridicule" in the past for voicing his concerns he pointed out that "sure enough now, surprise, surprise, (the rare breeds are) beginning to come back".

Charles faced criticism of a different sort when he and Camilla, who is gradually recovering from a hysterectomy operation over a month ago, travelled to their Scottish retreat by plane rather than by road last week. While green campaigners said the 500-mile flight would add considerably to the Prince's carbon footprint, Charles apparently made the decision to use the executive jet out of concerns for his wife's health.

"We have always said that many factors need to be taken into account on each journey," said a spokeswoman. "In this case a key consideration was the Duchess' recuperation from her recent operation and she travelled with a nurse." The couple are due to celebrate their second wedding anniversary on April 9 at Birkhall, where they spent their honeymoon.

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