Wales

Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall at St Asaph cathedral

  • 9 July 2012
  • From the section Wales
Prince Charles speaking to crowds outside St Asaph cathedral, Denbighshire
Image caption Prince Charles and his wife stayed in St Asaph for nearly an hour-and-a-half

Hundreds of people turned out to greet Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall as they started their summer tour of Wales at St Asaph cathedral.

The couple were met by school children who waved Union flags while screaming and applauding.

Music from the Denbighshire County Brass Band also heralded their arrival.

Charles and Camilla spoke to the waiting crowds during the visit, which included a service to celebrate St Asaph's new city status.

The former town, with a population of 3,400, was awarded city status in March as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The royal couple met inside the cathedral with local people who helped secure the award.

They arrived at 11.45 BST and spoke briefly to the waiting crowds before entering the cathedral.

They also met members of the St Asaph diocese, and saw some of the work that takes place.

Dewi Owens, a city and county councillor who was among the crowd outside, said it was "fantastic" to have the royal couple visiting.

"We're very, very pleased to be having them here. Everyone in St Asaph really appreciates it.

"We look forward to them coming more often now we are a city."

Michael Gauge, 70, from St Asaph, said: "It all started off with Charles' mother giving us the okay for being a city.

Image caption The band said Prince Charles described their music as "fabulous"

"I have been here most of my life and for most of it, I thought we were a city. It was only about 20 years ago I discovered we weren't.

"We never thought we were going to get it but we did and we are all thrilled. It's a great occasion."

A former worker at the former local Pilkington glass factory, he added: "The Queen came here in the 60s I think, and Princess Margaret visited as well.

"It's a great occasion for the local citizens, as we can officially call ourselves now."

The royal couple were greeted by music from the Denbighshire County Brass Band, which is made up of eight to 15-year-olds.

Conductor John Powell said: "We're all very honoured. It's fantastic for the children.

"I played for the prince in Buckingham palace for his 50th birthday. I told the children he's one of the most famous people in the world, and for them to play for him it's a great accolade."

Image caption Jennie Thomas and her mother Margaret shook hands with the royal couple

Head tuba player William Foulkes, 15, said: "It means a lot to be playing for royalty. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"I doubt I will ever get to do it again."

Fellow band member Johnny Davies, nine, said: "It's quite an opportunity really, because he's quite an important person."

Prince Charles later told band members he thought their music was "fabulous".

Among the crowds waiting to catch a glimpse of the royals were Katrina Bamsey, 31, and friend Jasmine Bellis, 19, both from the city.

Ms Bamsey said: "I think it's fabulous they're here.

"I think city status is going to be good for businesses because people will want to come here more.

"A lady did stop me the other day and asked me where the city centre centre was. I said 'This is it'."

Image caption Katrina Bamsey and Jasmine Bellis think city status will bring more people to St Asaph

Ms Bellis said: "A lot more people have come to St Asaph. We're starting to get noticed a bit more now."

After meeting local people inside the cathedral, and a short thanksgiving service, the royal couple walked the crowds, shaking hands and talking to well-wishers.

nMargaret Thomas ad her daughter Jennie, from nearby Rhuddlan, met both the Prince and the Duchess.

Margaret Thomas, who was there to represent St Kentigern Hospice in St Asaph, said: "Prince Charles asked if we were local and I told him we were here for St Kentigern's.

"He said 'Oh, the one over there,' and pointed, so he obviously knew about it.

"He said he didn't know how we kept it going, and said it was wonderful.

"I said 'We do our best sir'.

"I can't believe we shook both their hands."

Referring to Camilla, Jennie Thomas said: "She said she was pleased nobody needed their brollies today."

The visit to St Asaph marked the start of a four-day tour of Wales .

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