Women’s Lunch, museum, farm visit and vineyard for Duchess of Cornwall in East Sussex

It was a busy Thursday for Camilla, as The Duchess carried out a day of official engagements in East Sussex, visiting four charitable organisations.

Starting the day, Camilla visited the Charleston Trust to open the restored barns and new galleries, following the completion of the Charleston Centenary Project. The project was launched to safeguard Charleston’s heritage, and marked the centenary of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s arrival at Charleston.

The Charleston farmhouse, the Sussex home of the artists, is the only completely-preserved Bloomsbury interior in the world and, since opening to the public in 1986, its delicate painted interiors and eclectic collection of furniture, textiles, books and ceramics have been enjoyed by over half a million visitors.

Camilla also viewed Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s Famous Women Dinner Service, which is a unique set of 50 plates depicting famous women throughout history, from Cleopatra to Mary Queen of Scots, Jane Austen, Greta Garbo and Elizabeth I. The organisation acquired the dinner service following the success of their “adopt a plate” campaign.

The Duchess of Cornwall has been Patron of the Trust since 2013 and her last visit to Charleston was in 2011.

On her next stop, the Duchess visited the newly opened Jamie’s Farm, of which she is patron since 2014, to mark the charity’s 10th anniversary.

The farm helps disadvantaged children to flourish at home, in education and in the community through an immersive week-long residential programme built around “farming, family, therapy & legacy.” They target some of the most disadvantaged young people in schools, focusing on 11-16 year olds and follow-up support is provided to both children and their teachers to help translate this into their school life with long-lasting benefits.

camilla, duchess of cornwall watches bath bomb making (clarence house)

During the visit, Camilla met a group of children from the Harris Academy Orpington, as they were preparing a home-made wild garlic pesto and pasta with salad in the kitchen. There, the Duchess said to George, aged 12: “I wish I was staying now, this looks delicious.”

When a little girl accidentally spilled a tin of water over her, the Duchess laughed and said: “Oh don’t worry, it’s only water. It can’t hurt.”

Her Royal Highness also met four day old twin lambs and when their mother bleated nervously, she smiled and said: “Oh poor little things. She’s calling to them.”

camilla greets a lamb at Jamie’s farm (clarence house)

The farm is located at Allington Farm, near Lewes in East Sussex, which is just over the hill from Camilla’s family home in Plumpton. She recalled riding her pony almost every day on the bridle path as a child, along with her younger sister Annabel, asking the children: “Have you walked to the top of the hill yet? There’s a great view at the top. I used to ride or run up most days. Isn’t this place wonderful?”

Adding about her upbringing: “It was idyllic and I’m feeling terribly nostalgic. It was just the perfect place to grow up, we had so much freedom. We were out on our ponies or walking and exploring each day. Sometimes I even used to ride my pony to school – I mean you couldn’t do that anywhere nowadays.”

Camilla also shared her experience as a pupil at Dumbrells School, where the teachers were “fearsomely strict.” She said: “It was the only place I think I ever learnt something.”

the duchess of cornwall marks her visit to jamie’s farm with a plaque unveiling (clarence house)

At the end of the visit, The Duchess of Cornwall made a cheeky joke as she was lifting up a Jamie’s Farm t-shirt covering a plaque celebrating the charities success, saying: “Do you want me to lift up its top?”

The future Queen Consort’s next engagement was at East Sussex Women of the Year Lunch, of which she has been patron since 2011.

Made up of around 250 women, the lunch raises awareness and funds for local charitable causes that involve women or their families, and it’s held to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions, achievements and inspiration shown by women working
in professional and voluntary roles in East Sussex.

Since 2011, the organisation has raised over £70,000 to help support breast cancer research, to address domestic abuse, to support family carers of people with dementia, severely-handicapped children and to fight loneliness in the community.


The Duchess of Cornwall has provided a foreword for the Lunch’s programme this year, which is on the theme of raising awareness of loneliness in East Sussex.

On her final engagement, Camilla, President of Wine GB since 2011, visited award winning Ridgeview Wine Estate, a family-run sparkling wine business.

camilla visited ridgeview wine estate in lewes (clarence house)

Founded in 1995, Ridgeview was one of the first wineries to be devoted to the production of English sparkling wine. The winery is operated by the second generation of the Roberts family and its wine is exported to 17 countries around the globe.

During her visit, the Duchess met President of Wine GB and said: “What a perfect day, it couldn’t be better.”

Later in her speech, Camilla joked as they toasted her visit saying: “I’ll toast myself ! Can I say what a huge pleasure it is to be here today. Not just that it has brought be back to Sussex, brought my back to Ditchling, where I used to be at school….but one of my hugest pleasures is being President on Wine GB.

the duchess of cornwall is president of wine gb (clarence house)

“Having been in the wine world for most of my life, my father was involved for so many years, it is sort of a natural step to come and be part of it. And I hope wherever he is today he would be very proud to see me with a glass of English wine. Cheers!”

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