Charles and Camilla enjoy Leicester: from food & leatherworks to the beginning of a new ‘fab four’

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall spent a jam-packed day in Leicester today, carrying out multiple engagements.

Joined by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall began their day by visiting the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Stanford Hall, Loughborough. The Rehabilitation Centre opened in October 2018 and provides current members of the Armed Forces with residential and in-patient rehabilitation.

Family affair! William & Kate are joined by Charles & Camilla at Stanford Hall rehabilitation centre

Their Royal Highnesses enjoyed a tour of the facilities and the opportunity to meet with a number of patients and staff. On site is a specialised swimming pool complex as well as adapted gyms that are used for numerous therapies.

While visiting one of the gyms, Prince William borrowed a wheelchair to try his hand at some wheelchair basketball! After a number of failed attempts at making a basket, the Duke’s father helped him out by wheeling him closer and then giving him a little shake around the neck.

William’s sixth shot was a success, complete with a jubilant roar from the crowd! The royals also visited the prosthetics workshop where they learned about the innovative techniques that are employed to help the patients gain back mobility and control in their lives.

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The visit by all four of the Royals was greatly appreciated by the Centre. Captain Allison Hofman, commanding officer of the centre expressed: “I am delighted. It went really well. Them deciding to do a joint visit like this was amazing for us. Such a privilege to have all four of them together.”

After William and Kate departed, The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall carried on to the Leicester Market. The covered market is home to a various array of exhibits ranging from local produce to hand made items. There has been a market on this exact site dating back to 1298.

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While touring the market, Camilla visited with members from the Shama Women's Centre and perused their crochet works on display. The Shama Centre was founded in 1983 by some local women who wanted to empower women and girls from the surrounding community.

The Duchess of Cornwall visits with members of the Shama Centre. (Photo courtesy of Clarence House)

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The royal couple toured the incredible Food Hall and chatted with various stallholders and residents of the area. On display were a variety of local delights from gloriously fresh fish to an exceptional bounty of regional produce.

On their way to the new market square, Prince Charles and Camilla stopped to see a statue of Alice Hawkins, a well-known English suffragette from Leicester and meet with some of the children who are performing in the Spark Arts for Children Festival.

Charles and Camilla visit the Food Hall at Leicester Market. (Photo courtesy of Clarence House)

At the new market square, the future King unveiled a new plaque to commemorate the naming of the new square to Green Dragon Square.

Separate events followed for the Prince and Duchess, with Charles appearing at a reception to launch the British Asian Trust's Midlands Chapter. The Prince of Wales, along with a group of British Asian leaders in business, created the Trust in 2007 with the mission to diminish the widespread injustice, inequality and poverty that pervades Southern Asia. Just last week, the trust announced a new ambassador, Katy Perry.

At the reception, Charles met with supporters from the surrounding area and local leaders from the community.

In her capacity as the President of Royal Voluntary Service, Camilla made her way to Leicester General Hospital to take part in the Royal Voluntary Service's "Big Trolley Push" event. The Duchess of Cornwall was received by the NHS Trust Chairman for the University Hospitals of Leicester, Karamjit Singh CBE.

Boasting over 20,000 volunteers, the Royal Voluntary Service is one of Britain's largest volunteering charities. Members help to provide hospital patients with simple acts of kindness which go a long way in not only giving the patients a bit of a lift but in helping relieve some of the pressures of overworked staff.

The Big Trolley Push is an effort to recruit more volunteers. Trolley volunteers take trolleys full of reading material, toiletries, snacks and treats around the hospital floors and visit with the patients. A quick chat and a little refreshment can go a long way in helping a patient deal with the stress and anxiety that can accompany a hospital stay.

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The Duchess was accompanied by RVS ambassador, Elaine Page OBE and volunteer John Thompson as she pushed one of the trolleys around surgical Ward 22 and met with the patients and staff.

Next on The Prince of Wales' agenda was  a stop at the last remaining rattan workshop in Britain, the Soane Britain Workshop, located in Thurmaston. He was welcomed by the Founder and Creative Director of Soane Britain, Mrs. Lulu Lytle and given a tour of the facility.

Charles enjoyed a number of different demonstrations that centred on the rich history of weaving that is a part of Leicester. He was shown a variety of distinctive techniques ranging from cane bending to rattan weaving. The workshop produces all kinds of rattan products from sofas and chairs to lights and mirrors.

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Before leaving, His Royal Highness unveiled a plaque to commemorate his visit to the shop.

Charles and Camilla once again joined each other to call on The Cambridge Satchel Company and enjoy a tour of the factory. Founded in 2008, the company was started by Julie Deane OBE with an initial investment of £600 and has grown into a worldwide sensation. Each bag is handmade at the factory with the classic satchel becoming one of the leading IT bags.

Not only does the company collaborate with international designers but they have now begin to create a collection in support of The Prince's Foundation, The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust and The Royal Opera House and Harris Tweed. The collection for The Prince's Foundation will launch at the end of the month with 20% from each bag sold being donated to the charity.

The Prince and the Duchess were given a full tour and experienced each stage of the production process. Using an antique embossing machine, Charles was given the chance to emboss a piece of leather with The Prince's Foundation logo.

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After the informative tour, the couple met with staff at a reception where Camilla was invited to cut the commemorative cake for the event, while Charles unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion.

Before leaving, the couple received some beautiful gifts. The Prince was given a bespoke canvas and leather Gardening Bag and a leather highland cow key charm, while the Duchess received a small Harris Tweed and brandy coloured leather traveller bag, a French grey leather doctors bag and a special edition bee key charm.

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