PRINCE Charles made time in a busy week of official engagements for his traditional visit to Sandringham Flower Show.
The show is a date not to be missed in the diary of the Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall, who on Wednesday spent nearly two hours in soaring temperatures meeting enthusiastic and cheering crowds.
Their visit to the show is usually combined with a stay at Sandringham House. This year, the Prince travelled to West Norfolk from a two-day visit to Northumberland. Afterwards, he and the Duchess left by helicopter to fulfil commitments in London for the rest of the week.
On arrival, the Duchess was presented with posy by Dominic Ashby, aged five, of Sandringham and West Newton School, whose name was picked out of a hat.
In the Royal Marquee, Charles chatted to Jean Thurston, of South Wootton Evening WI, and Sue Nulty, of Dersingham WI. They said: “We told him how well he looked and he said he likes working out of doors.”
Outside, the Prince met Samantha Moore, of South Lynn, who said: “He asked if we were going to the WI tent to have a cup of tea.”
The Duchess made friends with two Jack Russell puppies, Milo and Ziggy, who were at the show with Beth Southwell, 17, of Dersingham, and her family. Beth said: “She said she had just got a rescued Jack Russell.”
Charles and Camilla were tempted by home-made treats on the Sandringham WI stand.
“They had a really good look round and bought a fruit cake and some scones to take home,” said the branch chairman, Yvonne Browne.
As president of the National Osteoporosis Society, Camilla was keen to call at the Lynn branch’s show stand to hear the latest news from West Norfolk.
“She is obviously delighted that we now have a scanner in this part of the county and the fact that this branch is really thriving,” said chairman Jill Fysh.
The manager of the Norfolk and Norwich Association’s equipment centre in Lynn, Dorothy Bowen, showed the Duchess new aids including a “ClearVision” children’s book and a “PenFriend” audio labelling pen. “She was very pleased to see the latest innovations,” said Mrs Bowen.
Prince Charles spoke individually to each member of a guard of honour formed by Lynn’s 42F ATC Squadron at the end of the royal walkabout.
One of the youngest cadets, Owen Scott, 13, said: “He asked if I was a new member.”
The Prince also shared a joke with the squadron’s long-serving commanding officer, Flt Lt Pauline Petch. “Are you still here?” he asked.