Charles and Camilla conclude successful visit to Northern Ireland

Charles and Camilla conclude successful visit to Northern Ireland

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall concluded their two-day visit to Northern Ireland on Wedensday, taking in a local market, horse therapy and the harbour.

Day two began in the gardens of Hillsborough Castle, the official residence of the Royal Family in Northern Ireland. The couple met with the staff who work at the Castle and signed the visitors book before they traveled to County Down for their first public engagement of the day.

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The couple paid a visit to the open-air Bangor Market in the county, which is 98 years old! The market places a big emphasis on locally-sourced produce, including a range of organic goods, both of which are interests of the Prince.

Charles and Camilla browsed the many stalls, taking in such goods as fresh local fruit and vegetables, fish, home-baked cakes, seasonal plants and shrubs. They spoke with stall owners, with the Prince telling one that he thinks that people will be allowed to shake hands once again very soon.

While there may have been no shaking of hands, there was much laughter with well wishers who had gathered to see the royal couple – and even the odd elbow bump!

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The Prince and Duchess then went their separate ways, the best to cover more ground during the short visit and to also visit organisations that they are interested in.

Charles travelled to Donaghadee where he viewed stones that line the harbour walls. The stones all hold a message of hope from the members of the public, who laid them there during the pandemic.

He also unveiled a plaque by the town’s Lighthouse, right on the harbour front.

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The plaque unveiled was to mark the Bicentenary of the Royal Charter of Donaghadee Harbour, which has existed since the 17th century.

The future King also met with historians to find out more about the bicentenary and the work that they are carrying out to mark the occasion, he also spoke with members of the Bicentenary Festival Team.

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Whilst greeting the public, one youngster asked the Prince how many TVs The Queen had…! Charles said he thought one, but there might be a few others around ‘for other people’. Watch the amusing exchange below.

There was then a quick trip to County Tyrone for The Prince of Wales, where he visited the village of Caledon. He was shown around the village by Lord and Lady Caledon, and saw the sites of upcoming development projects – such as a former wool store, which is currently under construction to be transformed into a Day Care centre, and outhouses. which will house the village’s new Men’s Sheds.

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On a trip to the football pitches, the Prince met with young schoolchildren who use the facilities and was seen sharing a laugh with the coaches of the Caledon Rovers football club, which call the pitches home.

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The second plaque unveiling of the day for the Royal was in the Church Hall of St John’s in the village. The Church Hall has just been recently refurbished.

Elsewhere, The Duchess of Cornwall was paying a visit to Kilcooley Women’s Centre in Down.

Kilcooley Women’s Centre has been providing services for vulnerable women in North Down since 1995. The organisation has no paid staff, relying on volunteers to conduct activities such as training and education, employability skills, health and wellbeing programs, arts programs and personal development programs to build skills and confidence. Supporting women is an area of particular interest to the Duchess.

During her visit, the Duchess saw examples of the work done by the women supported by the organisation, and met members of the ‘Camilla Club’. The club focuses on reading, and was inspired by the Duchess’ Reading Room, which she launched earlier this year.

Before she left, the Duchess unveiled a plaque to mark her visit.

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Camilla’s second solo visit of the day was to Horses For People. The organisation provides equine therapy and has been running workshops since 2013. The workshops aim to help people deal with stress, increase resilience and, for companies who send groups of staff, to promote team-building. Participants learn about themselves and others and how to process their feelings, behaviours and patterns. Many clients are veterans, who are re-adjusting to civilian life and, during lockdown, they worked with many care workers.

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The Royal, who is a keen horse rider herself, met with the founder, June Burgess as well as staff and horses. Clients explained how the organisation has helped them in their lives.

Camilla then joined a workshop with veterans to see how the organisation and the workshops work.

The couple left Northern Ireland in the evening, returning home after a very successful two day visit full of laughter, as is ever the case with the Prince and Duchess.

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