Lobsters And Dragons Feature In Royals’ Sunny Visit To Scilly

royal visit july 2015_2The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall made their first visit to Scilly since 2012 yesterday.

And during the trip to St Agnes and St Mary’s, there was praise for islands’ produce and the new St Agnes Island Hall.

The royal couple started at the Produce Market, which was relocated from its usual venue in the Town Hall to a marquee erected on Holgate’s Green.

They spoke to each of the stallholders, sampling a range of foods produced here in Scilly – from artisan chocolate and fudge through to seafood and beer.

Carmen Stevens from the Scilly Maid Chocolate Company said Prince Charles particularly liked her white lemon chocolate while Camilla tried a sample flavoured with sea lettuce.

The Prince told Carmen he was pleased to see local flavours being used in her products.

Camilla thought the fudge from Veronica Farm on Bryher was “lovely” says owner Kris Taylor.

Kris also chatted to the Duchess about her involvement in the ‘Women in Rural Enterprise’ course, sponsored by the Duchy of Cornwall, which provides training and advice for local businesswomen.

Kris says it was the best course she’s ever been on she was grateful for the opportunity because it’s made a “tremendous difference” to her business and many others on the islands.

Also in the produce tent was Bryher businesswoman Amanda Pender, representing her new venture, Island Fish.

She provided an unusual gift for the couple to take away. On top of a hamper full of shellfish, she gave them a cuddly lobster soft toy for Prince George, who is celebrating his 2nd birthday today.

Both the Duke and Duchess came face to face with a real lobster on the Islands’ Inshore Fisheries stand.

IFCA Fisheries Officer Doug Holt demonstrated their tagging technology using live crustacea caught around the islands and held in a ‘touch tank.’

The royals were also introduced to representatives of the Hitachi Corporation. The Council is keen to arrange to deal with Japanese businessmen that would result in Scilly being a ‘guinea pig’ for smart grid technology.

The Duchess enjoys a glass of Holy Vale wine.

The Duchess enjoys a glass of Holy Vale wine.

Camilla then headed up to the Holy Vale Winery, which opened last year. She was introduced to owner Robert Francis and his Austrian winemaking consultant Willie Opitz.

The Duchess tasted some of Robert’s first bottles of wine, produced this year.

She said she liked it, described the wine as “delicious” and was pleased that there was a pudding wine, as that is Prince Charles’ favourite.

At lunchtime, the royals travelled to St Agnes.

The Prince viewed the affordable housing built on Duchy land by Cornwall Rural Housing Association.

Charles met with Mark and Emma Eberlein and viewed their home, which is called Horfa. It’s named after the ship that sank off St Martin’s, en-route from New Zealand. The name was chosen to reflect the connection between Mark’s home country and the islands.

The Prince presented the Eberleins with an organic Scilly Pearl apple tree, sourced from St Martin’s. It will be planted in the communal area between the housing association properties.

Charles then went on to meet Seabird Recovery Project Manager Jaclyn Pearson to discuss the work to eradicate rats on St Agnes and Gugh.

And then more local produce – this time ice cream at Troytown Farm and soap at 28 miles.

One of the highlights of the visit was seeing the island’s school pupils recreate their traditional May Day play, George and the Dragon, on St Agnes.

Over 150 people watched Solly Hicks slay the monster, played by Esran Stewart, and the royal couple appeared delighted by the performance.

Youngsters then presented them with cowrie shells from Guinea Money Carn. The decorative gift is known locally as ‘Guinea Money.’

Then it was time to view the award winning Island Hall.

Charles spoke in complimentary terms about the appearance of the building, designed and built by the island community.

It has been praised for its sustainability elements and the Prince said he was impressed by those measures, including the photovoltaic tiles.

Charles unveiled a plaque commemorating yesterday’s visit. It will be fixed to the front of the building.

The couple ended their sunny and smile-filled day in Scilly, leaving on a helicopter from the meadow at around 4.15pm.

Their tour continues at the Cornwall Air Ambulance headquarters today.

You can see more photos from the royal couple’s visit here.