The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay had a ‘smashing’ time yesterday, as they continued their visit to Scotland; Camilla started the day at the official naming ceremony of the HMS Prince of Wales in her role as Lady Sponsor, before the couple carried out separate engagements, including a visit to the House of Bruar for the Duchess, and Charles heading to the Scottish Lime Centre Trust.
At Rosyth Dockyard, Charles and Camilla participated in the boat-naming ceremony for the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier, the HMS Prince of Wales. The ceremony is a tradition which has taken place for thousands of years; it essentially represents an official blessing of the new ship.
During the event, the royal couple was treated to performances by a marching band and traditional Scottish dancers. It is custom that a new ship is blessed by a female sponsor, in this case, The Duchess of Cornwall.
In christening the new ship, Camilla took part in an important naval tradition – the smashing of a bottle against the vessel’s hull, with a bottle of champagne generally being the drink of choice. However, as this ceremony took place in Scotland, a bottle of whisky was used instead – a 10 year old single malt from the Isle of Islay’s famous Laphroaig distillery. The Duchess smashed the bottle not by hand, but by pressing a button.
Alongside the Royals, Liam Fox (the International Trade Secretary) and Sir Michael Fallon – the Defence Secretary – were also present. Fallon remarked that the “HMS Prince of Wales is a prestigious name for what I’m sure will be a most prestigious ship”.
This is the second of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers; her sister vessel, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, arrived in Portsmouth three weeks ago following a series of sea trials. When that ship was named three years ago, The Queen also used a bottle of whisky from an Isle of Islay distillery.
Following the official ceremony, the royal couple met with members of the ships’ crew, as well as their families. They also took the time to speak with veterans who served on the HMS Prince of Wales’ predecessor, which sank off the coast of Singapore over 70 years ago.
After the naming ceremony, the couple split up: the Duchess travelled to Pitlochry to visit the retail company, The House of Bruar, changing from her navy coat and hat into pale green. This is a family-run business which sells traditional food, drink and clothing which is made locally in Scotland. The House of Bruar is actually home to the UK’s largest selection of pure cashmere products, reflecting the company’s reputation for high-quality goods.
Camilla toured the store, and spoke to the family members who founded the business. The Fife-based store has a large knitwear centre, in addition to a food hall and delicatessen.
While his wife was in Pitlochry, The Prince of Wales travelled to Charlestown to visit the Scottish Lime Centre Trust. The organisation promotes conservation, repair and maintenance of historic buildings by educating the public on the knowledge and skills required for heritage preservation. This is a cause which is very close to Charles’ heart – it was The Queen’s eldest son who secured the preservation of Dumfries house.
While visiting the centre in Fife, the future King met with students who have been learning traditional building crafts via skills courses offered by the trust, which was established in 1994. At the Scottish Lime Centre Trust, participants can learn how to conserve everything from a garden wall to castles.