Belfast Telegraph

Big catch for fishing port as Royal couple drop by

The Prince of Wales and an 86-year-old fisherman recalled a past encounter on the high seas as he and the Duchess of Cornwall set sail on a trawler during a visit to Northern Ireland.

Howard Forsythe told the Prince of Wales he was onboard a fishing boat in the 1970s when a Royal Navy vessel commanded by His Royal Highness flagged them down to carry out a random check.

The fisherman recounted the incident as he welcomed the Royal couple onto his trawler, Boys Pride, in Kilkeel, Co Down.

"He laughed when I told him about it," said Mr Forsythe afterwards. "He said I was lucky he hadn't run me over."

The Prince showed no lack of naval skills four decades on as he jumped at the opportunity to take the wheel on the short trip around the town's picturesque harbour which sits in the shadow of the spectacular Mourne Mountains.

But the Duchess did not appear so confident in her husband's ability to chart a steady course as she gripped hard on the boat's railings as they chugged along.

Mr Forsythe said he was impressed by his stand-in captain.

"The Prince steered it up the harbour no bother at all," he joked.

Back on dry land at the other end of the harbour, their Royal Highnesses were given a rapturous welcome by a crowd of cheering, flag-waving schoolchildren.

It was the first time the fishing town had experienced such a high profile Royal visit and every vantage point at the waterfront was taken, with workers in nearby fish production plants crowded round windows to catch a glimpse.

With a brass band playing, the couple went on a walkabout before viewing some fresh catch.

Fishmonger Heather Millar said the shellfish had caught their eye. "They were such a lovely couple," she said.

"Camilla said she loves fish, she's a real fish woman."

The visit had been due to last an hour and a half but in the event the couple spent almost three hours down at the harbour.

They then stepped inside the Nautilus Maritime Visitors' Centre and went their separate ways.

While the Prince held a meeting with industry representatives to discuss problems facing the fisheries sector, the Duchess donned an apron and had a go at cooking scallops in a culinary course.

The couple were accompanied on their visit by Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson, his wife Rose and other dignitaries.

Hundreds of well-wishers waited over an hour outside the centre and were rewarded when the couple embarked on an impromptu walkabout before they left.

The Royals will carry out a series of engagements today on the final day of a two-day visit to Northern Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph

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