A busy day for Prince Charles in Poundbury amidst engagement buzz

Prince Charles had a busy day of engagements yesterday in Poundbury, Dorset, while the world focused on the engagement of his youngest son, Prince Harry, to Meghan Markle. Clarence House, Charles’ household, was responsible for issuing the official engagement announcement.

The Prince of Wales was in Poundbury, an urban extension – sometimes referred to as a “model village” – in Dorset which was built on land belonging to the Duchy of Cornwall. The village is due to be completed in the next eight years or so, and will have a population of 5,000 residents.

His first stop was at Damers First School, which re-located to its purpose-built site in Poundbury in April. As the Prince arrived at the school, the media were quick to ask his opinion of his son’s engagement. Charles said he was “thrilled for both of them” and hopes that the couple will be “very happy indeed”.

While visiting the school, The Prince of Wales – known for his green views – had the chance to find out about the school’s sustainability initiatives as he spoke to both staff and pupils. He also chatted with members of Damer’s Eco Club, who carry out sustainable projects.  For example, the Eco Club launched an initiative which encourages Poundbury residents to cut down on single-use water bottles by providing areas where locals can refill their bottles instead of buying new ones.

The Royal also unveilled a plaque to mark the official opening of the school.

Prince Charles also toured the classrooms, even stopping to watch as some of the pupils baked Dorset apple cake. As the pupils peeled the apples for the cake, the heir to the throne joked, “No-one’s cut their fingers off yet”.

Charles then paid a visit to Loop Technology, a robotics company. The company was established by married couple Alun and Samantha Reece in their living room, before the couple decided to relocate the premises to its current centre in Poundbury last year. Loop Technology is located in what was a disused factory, bringing innovation and growth to the area.

The royal visitor was given the chance to see 3D robot scanning and virtual reality technology. Alun Reece, the company’s co-founder and Technical Director, said of the visit: “We were delighted to welcome HRH to Loop Technology, it was a real honour to show him FibreEYE and HoloCell – both ground-breaking technologies where we’ve identified a need but as yet nothing automated exists.”

Prince Charles’ final visit was to the Bowes Lyon Court – named in honour of his grandmother – which is an assisted living community for over 70s.  The Retired Living community consists of independently-owned properties, with 62 one- and two-bedroom apartments.

During his visit, The Queen’s eldest son was greeted by staff and residents, who cheered upon his arrival. Charles was greeted by the estate manager, Jan Skeemer, Kevin Mayne (site manager), the Court’s sales and marketing manager, Kim Caldwell, and resident Rowena Hampton, who is also the founder of the community’s art club.

The Prince was taken on a tour of the community, where he met Brian Richmond, a retired veterinary surgeon who invited the royal guest to take a shot in his snooker game. Charles stepped up to the plate and almost sunk a ball – but in the end, it was a near miss.

Charles also spoke to members of the art club, where he shared his own passion for watercolours.  He then swapped tips regarding art and mediums with the residents.

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