Prince Charles & Camilla begin Wales Week: healing waters, hydrogen cars & Hay Festival

Prince Charles & Camilla begin Wales Week: healing waters, hydrogen cars & Hay Festival

Picture this: you pop down to your local shop to pick up some milk and bread (and maybe a cheeky treat of something sweet). You get to the self service checkout – and who is in front of you in the aisle but the future King of England!

Never going to happen, right? Well, The Prince of Wales kicked off the first day of Wales Week with a trip to Iceland headquarters in Wrexham yesterday – so maybe it’s not that crazy an idea!

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This year marks 50 years since the first Iceland store was opened, and Charles’ visit was to mark that anniversary. The Prince was taken on a tour of the site, speaking with members of staff as he was taken around staff offices, sampled products in Iceland’s Development Kitchen and returned to the cold store – which he officially opened 34 years ago!

Charles was also shown around the store, where he was told about Iceland’s various sustainability projects. In 2018, Iceland removed all palm oil from their own label foods and, by the end 2023, they plan to remove all plastic packaging from the label also.

The Royal, who has always been at the forefront of the battle to tackle climate change, was then shown the latest range of the supermarkets plastic free packaging, which includes plastic free bags. He got to see Iceland’s reverse vending machine, which rewards customers for recycling their plastics in it.

To mark his visit, the Prince unveiled a plaque in the reception area of the headquarters before leaving.

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The second visit of the day was to Wockhardt, which is one of the largest suppliers to the NHS, which celebrated its 73rd birthday yesterday being awarded the George Cross by The Queen. The main focus of the visit was the Quality Control Laboratory, where 300 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine are currently being produced.

The Quality Control Laboratory at Wockhardt has been producing around 150,000 vials of the vaccine a day for months, as vaccinations are rolled out around UK and the world. Staff in the lab have been working flat-out to make the vaccine roll out happen and Charles got to meet with them and personally thank them for their work on the frontline.

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The Prince of Wales also saw how drug substances and raw materials are stored by the pharmaceutical company, and spoke with apprentices before unveiling a plaque to mark his visit.

The final visit of day one was to St Winefride’s Chapel where Charles visited St Winefride’s Well. The Well has been a Catholic Pilgrimage site for over 1,300 years and the water inside the crypt is believed to contain healing properties.

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Prince Charles visits the site of St Winefride’s Well (@ClarenceHouse)

St Winefride, the daughter of a local prince, was killed here. Where her head fell, a spring of water came up. The legend has it, she was brought back to life by St. Beuno and became a nun. Thousands of pilgrims now flock to the site of her death each year.

Charles knelt down and put his hand in the healing water on his visit,

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While day one saw the future King hit the local supermarket, day two saw Charles get behind the wheel of Riversimple’s Rasa car for a test drive.

The Prince was visiting the sustainable car maker to learn more about their hydrogen powered cars, which emit only water vapour. Charles toured the workshop to learn more about the process behind the production of the vehicles, before he took to the road in one.

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The Rasa, a two-seater electric car powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, is the first of a range of vehicles that Riversimple plan to offer.

The company is currently trialing the cars with members of the public. These trials are currently only taking place in two locations; Monmouthshire, where a refueller has been installed in Abergavenny, and Pembrokeshire, where another refueller has been installed in Milford Haven.

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Later on, Charles privately hosted the Poet Laureate Simon Armitage at Llwynywermod. Llwynywermod is The Prince of Wales’ and Duchess of Cornwall’s official residence in Wales and where they stay during their annual Wales Week. Simon was appointed Poet Laureate in May 2019.

The Prince took the poet around the gardens of his residence during the visit, showing him the various plants he grows.

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Meanwhile, The Duchess of Cornwall had her first day of engagements in Wales on Tuesday, beginning with a visit to Hay-on-Wye. The visit comes following Camilla’s official opening of the Hay Festival – an event which takes place annually in the town – in May via video message.

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During the visit, the Duchess met with organisers of the Festival in Booth’s Bookshop to speak with them about this years festival and how it is being conducted. Due to the pandemic, the Festival is mainly being conducted online, where it has brought together thousands or writers and readers. Booth’s Bookshop was the location of a pop-up studio which allowed many of the speakers to broadcast live to those watching online.

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The Duchess also met with children from Hay Primary School and got to see some of the creative writing projects that they have done. She also received a gift of a set of boos from them before she moved on to visit Addyman’s Books, an independent bookshop owned by Anne Brichto.

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After speaking with Anne for some time, The Duchess of Cornwall decided to go for a treat to end the day. She popped into Shepherd’s Ice Cream Parlour, where she met with owner Jess Hope-Jones and other staff members before she tasted ice cream made from sheep’s milk, which she seemed to enjoy.

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