Wales

Charles and Camilla visit Dylan Thomas boathouse

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Media captionThe four-year-old great-grandson of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas steals the show during the Royal visit to Laugharne

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have visited the last home of Dylan Thomas as they start their summer trip to Wales.

The prince is patron of the Dylan Thomas 100 Festival celebrating the 2014 centenary of the poet's birth.

The royals met museum staff and children at the Boathouse in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire.

Among other engagements on Monday, the prince also presented long service medals to police staff.

Thomas wrote his famous play for voices Under Milk Wood at the Boathouse where he lived with wife Caitlin and his three children during the last four years of his life from 1949 to 1953.

The prince and duchess toured the building which is now a heritage centre, bookshop and tea room.

The royal couple also saw the writing shed. Among those who came to see them were Thomas's granddaughter Hannah Ellis, who led the prince down the steps to the tourist attraction.

The poet's great-grandson - four-year-old Charlie Ellis - interrupted a performance of Under Milk Wood, which was being performed for the royal couple.

Charlie jumped and shouted while the performance was under way and caught the attention of Prince Charles, who told his mother: "He's going to be an actor."

The visit formed part of a busy first day for the couple who spend a week in Wales every July.

Image caption Prince Charles arrives in Llandovery for his first visit of the day.
Image caption The prince shares a laugh with local children from Llandovery Primary School.
Image caption He also met pupils from Llandovery College prep school.
Image caption His first engagement saw the prince officially open Llandovery Work Hub, a shared work space designed to help rural businesses.
Image caption The hub is located in a shared space building which functions as the town's information centre.
Image caption Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall soak up the July sunshine as they sit outside Dylan Thomas' Boathouse.
Image caption The couple saw the inside of the writing shed where Thomas composed Under Milk Wood.
Image caption The pair paused to read a commemorative plaque to the poet's late daughter Aeronwy Thomas, also a writer, who died in 2009.

On his first engagement of the day, Prince Charles met members of the Llandovery Development Partnership and local council representatives at Wales' first rural work hub.

The Llandovery Work Hub, in the town's information centre, is a shared work space designed to combat feelings of isolation experienced by many running a business in rural areas.

Pupils from Llandovery College and Ysgol Rhys Pritchard sang the British and Welsh anthems to welcome the prince.

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Media captionThe Duchess of Cornwall visited Gomer Press at Llandysul, Ceredigion

Ysgol Rhys Pritchard teacher Meiriona Rees said: "Pupils have danced for him when he last came down and we're really happy to be here again today," she said.

"It's great to have him back here and give him a warm Welsh welcome. If he comes back again we'll end up being on first name terms."

The prince was taken on a tour of the hub before officially opening it and meeting some centre users.

The prince then presented long service medals to Dyfed-Powys Police staff at the force's headquarters at Llangunnor, Carmarthen, and afterwards met the recipients and their families.

A Clarence House spokeswoman said: "This year there are 25 eligible officers -17 of them will be presented with their medal by the Prince of Wales.

"Dyfed-Powys Police also recognises the dedication of the Special Constabulary, so the Prince of Wales presented the Special Constabulary Bar to the Special Constable Chief Officer, Gareth Hicks, for his 29 years of service."

Meanwhile, the duchess visited independent publishing house Gomer Press at Llandysul, Ceredigion, where she was seeing key elements of the production process.

Image caption The royal couple at the Boathouse

After the joint trip to Thomas's Boathouse, she was returning to the couple's home in Carmarthenshire - Llwynywermod at Myddfai near Llandovery - to host a tea party for children and their families from Dreams and Wishes, a charity which supports seriously ill young people.

Town councillor Nigel Burgess said the locals viewed the prince as one of their own.

"We're just a small town in the heart of rural Wales, so the fact that our future king chose this neck of the woods to be his home means a great deal to people.

"It's not only put us and local good causes on the map, but it's given us a tremendous sense of pride."

On Tuesday, the royals have a series of engagements in north Wales.

On Wednesday they will visit the BBC Wales drama studios at Roath Lock in Cardiff Bay to mark the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, during which they will meet members of the cast including current doctor Matt Smith, who has announced he is leaving the show.

Image caption Prince Charles meets school children in Llandovery

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