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Charles all 'ale and hearty at country show

The Prince of Wales does not normally drink on duty but he was all smiles when offered a glass of pale ale as he toured a country show.

The Duke of Edinburgh is said to have a bottle of beer every day with his lunch, but it was his son Charles who enjoyed an afternoon tipple among the specialist food stalls at the Royal Norfolk Show.

As he walked past the stands in a large marquee displaying everything from English whisky to artisan cheeses, Charles stopped at a beer display.

Jan Vecqueray, deputy manager of the Adnams store in Stamford, Lincolnshire, poured Charles a glass of the brewer's Ghost Ship pale ale and before taking a drink he sniffed the brew.

Charles smiled and said "very good" before taking another sip of drink, dubbed "Ghostly Pale Ale" on its label, with an alcoholic strength of 4.5%.

Ms Vecqueray said: "It was a fantastic honour serving the prince and Ghost Ship is one of our top sellers.

"I think its popularity is down to its citrus and hoppy notes and it's quite refreshing in this weather - as I'm assuming it's still sunny outside."

Charles was joined by Camilla on his tour of the show near Norwich but they spent much of the visit apart visiting different sections of the sprawling site that featured everything from rare breed livestock, to farm machinery, a dog show and country craft displays.

During his tour of the country show Charles stopped to chat to Nigel Oakley, a former president of the Suffolk Horse Society who

said the rare equestrian breed - also known as the Suffolk Punch - was on the critical list.

The men chatted with an example of the horse - in demand for period films and TV shows - a few feet away from them.

Mr Oakley said after their meeting: "We're appealing for new members to join up and help keep the Suffolk Punch going. There are only

about 500 left."

Charles is celebrating 30 years as the patron of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust this year and saw many examples of rare breeds from

chickens and turkeys to sheep and cattle during his visit to the annual show which attracts more than 80,000 visitors over two days.

The former president added: "The Prince has had two of the horses himself so he knows all about them."

To coincide with the royal visit, the Prince's Countryside Fund, which works to improve the prospects of family farms and rural life, announced 20 projects would receive a share of a grant worth almost £560,000.

During her tour of the show, Camilla met many of the exhibitors and also chatted to Second World War D-Day veterans from the Royal Norfolk Regiment.

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