Prince Charles & Camilla in Stoke: ‘thrilled’ by engagement plus pottery & chapel restoration

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, have spent a very busy day in Stoke-on-Trent and been inundated with good wishes and messages from well wishers for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who announced their engagement yesterday.

Arriving together at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, the royal couple were greeted by the cast of pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which is being staged in the area.

Prince Charles asked the crowd of cheering onlookers: “Are you all here to see the pantomime?”

Visiting the museum to view progress on a project called The Watercolour World, of which they are joint patrons, Charles and Camilla saw how an online bank of pre-1900 watercolours from all over the world is being created, which will be free to access.

Prince Charles and Camilla last visited Stoke in 2010.

The Prince and Duchess were also shown other exhibits including costumes from the ITV drama ‘Victoria’, the famous Staffordshire Hoard and gold Leekfrith torcs, dug up in a field by metal detectorists in Hammerwich, Staffordshire, which Charles described as ‘amazing’.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visit Stoke-on-Trent; here, they view parts of the staffordshire hoard at the potteries museum. Picture by i-Images / Pool

Also on show to the Royals was the First Day Vase, thrown by Josiah Wedgwood in 1769 to mark his founding of his Etruria manufactory; it was recently saved for the nation by the museum purchasing it for £485,200, all raised through donations.

prince charles views students on a pottery course during a visit to stoke (clarence house)


After their tour of the museum, the pair split up: Charles headed to Bethesda Chapel, once known as the Cathedral of Methodism, where restoration of the late 18th century church is ongoing.

The Prince listened to a short organ recital of Elgar’s Imperial March by organist Michael Rhodes. The Prince of Wales applauded the playing and joked it was a ‘good job the organ worked’. The future King also took time to view an exhibition called Our Boys, detailing the exploits of local men who fought in the First World War.

the prince of wales views an exhibition about local wwi soldiers at Bethesda chapel (clarence house)

Camilla went onto Stoke City FC stadium where, as patron of the National Literacy Trust, she was meeting more than 200 schoolchildren taking part in reading activities.

Asked about how she felt about yesterday’s announcement of Harry and Meghan’s engagement, the Duchess said she was ‘absolutely thrilled’ by the news, continuing: “It’s brilliant and as I said, America’s loss is our gain. We are all absolutely delighted. As you can see, they are so happy.”

“Sometimes, you know, in a climate where we are surrounded by a lot of bad news, it’s a real joy to have a bit of good news for once. As I said before, we are delighted.”

When questioned about Meghan Markle, Camilla said she was ‘a star’.

She was also presented with an engagement card for Harry and Meghan during her visit to Stoke; she thanked the young girl and assured her “I’ll make sure they get it.”

The Duchess chatted to schoolchildren about their favourite books and authors, before presenting certificates for literary achievements.

The Prince of Wales also visited young people who have benefited from the support of The Prince’s Trust in the areas surrounding Stoke, and unveiled a plaque made by Emma Bridgewater.

It was announced today that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be married at St George’s Chapel, Windsor in May. Charles and Camilla are no doubt delighted with the choice of venue as it was there that their own marriage was blessed in April 2005, before the rules allowing divorcees to marry in a church came in to effect.

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