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Young girl presents Prince Charles with portrait on canal visit

The Prince of Wales was on a visit to Stroud in Gloucestershire when he met four-year-old Bella Bijlmer and her family.

The Prince of Wales came face to face with a portrait of himself – painted by a four-year-old girl.

Bella Bijlmer was with her parents, Anton, 37, and Rachael, 36, and nine-month-old sister Nayla to meet Prince Charles during a visit to Stroud in Gloucestershire on Friday.

The Prince, who is patron of The Canal & River Trust, was visiting the Cotswold town to unveil a plaque marking the restoration of a stretch of canal between Stonehouse and Thrupp.

Bella was waiting patiently with her family, who are from Stroud, when Charles walked up to them and said hello.

The little girl’s mother, Rachael Bijlmer, said: “When we saw the Prince was visiting we thought we would come along and see if we could see him.

The Prince of Wales told guests he very pleased to be visiting as patron of The Canal and River Trust (Ben Birchall/PA)

“Bella has been so excited today. She went to pre-school this morning and told all her friends that she was going to see Prince Charles today.

“The Prince asked her about her painting and where she did it and if Nayla was her little sister and whether she got covered in paint.

“It was really lovely.”

Prince Charles met volunteers from the Cotswold Canals Trust who have worked on the project, and took a ride on a narrowboat.

He descended through the Wallbridge Upper Lock, passing through the restored section of canal before cutting a ribbon to mark the completion of Wallbridge Lower Lock and the rejoining of the two canals.

Charles then joined a reception for volunteers and members of the local community where he unveiled a plaque commemorating the event.

He told guests he was very pleased to be visiting as patron of The Canal & River Trust, and praised the work of all the volunteers.

Prince Charles took a ride on a narrowboat (Ben Birchall/PA)

“I am so delighted that the restoration of this part of the canal has been completed, particularly as other sections are yet to be restored,” he said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that have been involved for a long time in this project.”

Later the Prince, as president of The Prince’s Trust, visited Tetbury-based Timberpride, a sustainable oak merchant which was set up with a loan from the charity in 1995.

During the visit to the workshop, Charles helped put the finishing touches to an oak plaque, which he unveiled to commemorate the visit.

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