Prince Edward and Sophie visit Preston to mark its 20th anniversary as a city

Returning from their summer break, The Earl and Countess of Wessex carried out their first engagement by visiting Preston. 

The royal visit coincided with the 20th anniversary of the city receiving city status. Preston was made a city in the year of The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. It became England’s 50th city during the 50th year of her reign.

Edward and Sophie visited Preston – their first engagement after the summer holidays. (@RoyalFamily)

The first engagement for the royal couple was a visit to Preston Markets, where they met some of the local traders. They toured the shops separately, taking in all the shops they came across. The Earl and Countess tried some of the local Preston delicacies – Sophie tried an oat flat-white and Edward tried some Lancashire cheese.

During the visit to the market, the Earl took the time to thank the local community who supported the city’s response to the COVID pandemic. While the Countess spoke to refugees and heard how they have been supported by the local community and chatted about their time living in the UK so far. 

The Countess of Wessex speaking to children during a visit to the market. (@RoyalFamily)

The Earl of Wessex took the time to speak to local traders at the market. (@RoyalFamily)

The Earl and Countess of Wessex then paid tribute to Nick Park, the famous creator behind Wallace and Gromit and founder of Aardman. The couple took the opportunity to pose on a special Wallace and Gromit bench, which was inspired by a Wallace and Gromit film, ‘The Wrong Trousers’. They spoke to the creator and shared a laugh as they discussed some of the animated duo’s most famous moments.

It was then on to a trip into the city centre, where the Royals visited Avenham and Miller Parks and met members of the local community, who are currently working on a regeneration programme. They heard how the local community benefit from the city’s green spaces.

The final stop of their day was at Lancaster Castle – party of the Duchy of Lancaster – where Prince Edward and Sophie saw areas of the castle that have been refurbished. The couple also listened to some experts whose traditional skills are being used at the castle.

TRHs also had the opportunity to meet representatives from community groups, including Lancaster & Morecambe City of Sanctuary, who provide assistance to refugees, and Bay Volunteers, who have provided Covid relief support in the community.

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