The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have been meeting pantomime actors and viewing some of Britain’s other cultural treasures on a visit to Stoke-on-Trent.
Charles and Camilla were visiting the Potteries Museum to see a project to create a free online bank of pre-1900 watercolours from around the world, and catch a glimpse of recently-uncovered priceless Iron Age relics.
Charles and Camilla, who are both patrons of the Watercolour World, had earlier been greeted by the Mow Cop Players, who are currently performing Snow White at a nearby theatre.
The prince shook hands with 21-year-old actor Cameron Hancock, who is playing the panto’s own Prince Charming.
The visit came a day after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle formally announced their engagement, in what has been billed as a real fairytale romance.
They were met at the start of a day of engagements in Stoke by a cheering crowd of about 100 people who had turned out in the bright winter sunshine, as Charles quipped: “Are you all here to see the pantomime?”
Inside the couple took a closer look at part of the famous Staffordshire Hoard, and donned white gloves to handle the gold Leekfrith torcs, dug up in a field by metal detectorists, with Charles describing the find as “amazing”.
They were also shown the First Day Vase, thrown by Josiah Wedgwood in 1769 to mark his founding of the Etruria manufactory, and recently secured for the public and future generations after £485,200 was raised for its purchase.
Afterwards, the royal party split up, as the Duchess headed across town to Stoke City FC stadium where, as patron of the National Literacy Trust, she was meeting more than 200 schoolchildren taking part in reading activities.
Meanwhile, Charles visited the nearby Bethesda Chapel, once known as the Cathedral of Methodism, where restoration of the late 18th century church is ongoing.
Parishioner Doris Askey, 87, told him she had been coming to the church since she was 16, but apologised for being hard of hearing.
She said: “I explained that I was deaf and he said he understood because his great-grandmother was deaf and he used to have to shout at her, to make her hear him.”
Afterwards the Prince listened to a short organ recital of Elgar’s Imperial March by chapel organist Michael Rhodes.
Charles, applauding the playing, joked “good job the organ worked”.