They are used to a warm welcome wherever they go, but the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall got more than they bargained for at the start of a three-day tour of Devon and Cornwall last week. Arriving in flood-drenched Porthleven, Prince Charles was enthusiastically greeted by a black Labrador puppy named Bella, who licked the heir to the throne’s head during a walkabout in the town.
The royal couple packed in 13 engagements during their visit to England’s two most westerly counties, meeting food producers, community volunteers and charity workers. They also visited a custard factory and a Ministry of Defence training area, as well as the Cornwall Air Ambulance HQ.
Prince Charles and Camilla cut a Highgrove House cake and a 5 tier cake to represent the Duchess's wedding outfit
The pair undertook solo engagements, too, with the Duchess heading to sexual assault referral centre First Light in Plymouth while Charles dropped in to officially open the new Cove Macmillan Support Centre at Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. The Prince, who is patron of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “On an occasion like this, it’s an opportunity to say a very big thank you to all these marvellous staff and the many volunteers – so many I’ve met this afternoon – without whom none of this would be possible.”
A day later, Charles picked up gifts for his grandchildren, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. While browsing in Barnstaple Pannier Market, he bought a storybook called The Goodnight Star by Amy Sparkes. Charles read part of it aloud to royal fans who had packed the market square. Earlier in the week, Camilla had told how Charles was a “brilliant mimic” who leaves her grandchildren “spellbound” with his dramatic readings of Harry Potter.
The Prince of Wales meet locals on a walkabout in Porthleven, with black labrador Bella licking Charles’s head
Camilla was later presented with a birthday cake to mark her 70th birthday, with pupils from Bishops Tawton Primary School and Orchard Vale Community School singing Happy Birthday to You. Barnstaple mayor Julie Hunt said: “Camilla was very down to earth. She was really touched that people had taken the time for her birthday and they took the cake with them. Charles was very caring and came across as very affectionate.”
On Friday, the couple braved torrential rain to join parishioners at St Protus and St Hyacinth’s church in Blisland for a service in celebration of Camilla’s milestone birthday. But they didn’t let the inclement weather dampen their spirits. After the service they visited the local combined post office, shop and tea room, with Charles telling villagers on his arrival: “I’m sorry we’re a bit damp.”