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Prince jokes with press and guests as he explores Balmoral Show

By Rachel Martin

It was a tale of the prince and the presenter as the Earl of Wessex greeted members of the public at Balmoral Show yesterday.

The prince laughed with members of the press who had gathered for his arrival.

"Am I in your shot? It's OK - I can move," Prince Edward joked with UTV presenter Paul Reilly as he recorded a piece to camera while the prince inspected a newly-positioned statue just feet behind him.

For Beatrice Adams, from Randalstown and her friend Ann Roster, from Ballymoney, it was a case of being in the right place at the right time.

"We just noticed the crowd at the entrance and thought we'd go over to see what was happening but we never expected to see a prince - we're delighted," she said.

The prince also took an interest in the Northern Ireland food pavilion, stopping beside Glastry Ice-cream and Burren Balsamics.

Food NI chief executive Michele Shirlow said: "He said he was very impressed with the showcase of local produce here - he said that not all shows do it in England."

The Edgar family came to the show to see the cows and have fun, but they never expected to bump into a member of the royal family. Alice Edgar (9), from Saintfield said she had only ever seen princes and princesses on TV before and was excited to have caught a glimpse of Edward.

"He just walked out right there with a few people round him, it's brilliant," mum Suzanne Edgar added.

Northern Ireland's Chief Veterinary Officer Robert Huey said it was an opportunity to raise awareness of the effects of TB and the charity he works with, Send a Cow.

"Before BSE we used to literally send a cow," he said. "But now we source cows locally. We don't ask people what they need, we ask them what they have and ask them to pass it on - if it's knowledge they can share it, if it's a calf they can pass that on and it's sustainable."

One of the longest stops on the prince's tour of the grounds was at the farmers' union stand.

Ulster Farmers' Union chief executive Wesley Aston said: "We talked about the current state of the industry and the effects of Brexit."

UFU President Barclay Bell added: "We emphasized the family farm structure - it's good to see so many kids here. This is typical of Northern Ireland farms and different from across the water - he recognised that and asked about trying to drive efficiencies in production and the land border after Brexit. He said he recognised that here was different to other parts of the UK."

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