The King and Queen have arrived in Poundbury this morning, where they are set to open a new garden named after his late father, Prince Philip.
King Charles enjoyed a royal first today when he undertook a royal ‘meet and greet’ with a group of well-wishes in their bathrobes and slippers.
The hilarious encounter, which clearly ticked the monarch, took place today/yesterday as he and Queen Camilla visited Poundbury, the traditional town His Majesty built in Dorset when he was Duke of Cornwall.
During an unannounced walkabout he encountered the group who had been enjoying treatments at the local spa and hadn’t had time to change in time to meet royalty.
Faye Harris, 34, said afterwards: ‘It’s a bit surreal standing in my dressing gown to meet the Κing and Queen, but wonderful.
The King and Queen have arrived in Poundbury this morning, where they are set to open a new garden named after his late father, Prince Philip
‘I was just having a spa treatment and they said would you like to come out and see the King and I said why not.’
The marketing director from Northamptonshire said her parents have lived in the experimental urban extension for 20 years, adding that they ‘love it’ there.
James and Tess, who also met the King and Queen in their bathrobes while enjoying the spa on their day off, said it was ‘a different spa day than we were expecting’.
Τhe King and Queen were in Poundbuy – which is now owned by his son, Prince William, the new Duke of Cornwall – to unveiled new bronze reliefs showing himself and his wife.
Sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley watched on as the King lifted the velvet curtains back on the reliefs, marking the completion of the village’s central hub, Queen Mother’s Square.
The British sculptor, who was chosen to produce the statue of Princess Diana at Kensington Palace, also produced the effigy of Queen Elizabeth has appeared on the face of British coins since 1998.
After the unveiling, he said: ‘It’s very much a portrait showing the preferred sides of their portraits that they want so the importance of it is it’s very much an image of the King as he would wish to see himself.’
He added that he had started the portraits of Their Majesties a few weeks before the King ascended the throne, saying: ‘Within a very short number of weeks the late Queen died and he became King, so in many ways I like to think it’s the first portrait of him as King, and certainly the Duchess as Queen.’
The royal couple shook the ends of the city’s official and well-wishers who had come to greet them
A group of royal fans ran out on their spa day in their robes in order to snatch a snap of the King
Poundbury, in Dorset, was first conceived of by the then Prince of Wales in the 1980s as a traditionalist answer to what he saw as a string of poor-quality housing developments being built across Britain.
It is an urban extension to the county town of Dorchester, built on Duchy of Cornwall land according to architectural principles advocated by the King, such as prioritising sustainability.
Building work at Poundbury began in October 1993 and to date, there are approximately 2,300 homes which house almost 5,000 people. Thirty-five per cent of the homes being built in the development are affordable housing.
It is set to be completed around 2028 and is estimated to increase Dorchester’s population by approximately 25 per cent.
The scheme was initially derided by some who accused the then Prince of Wales of building his own feudal version of Disneyland.
Other members of the public could be seen laughing during the Monarch’s quaint interaction with the spa goers
The Monarch seemed amused by the three people who decided to greet him in their spa robes this morning
The King quickly saw the funny as he chatted and joked with the three spa goers during his visit
The King looked dapper in a beige suit, while the Queen donned an elegant blue dress with sensible shoes
Making friends1q The Queen gave a sweet dog a stroke as she met with well-wishers in Poundbury
The royal couple also looked delighted as they were greeted by a group of schoolchildren in purple uniforms
In a speech commemorating the completion of Queen Mothers Square and the new bronze reliefs of Their Majesties, Poundbury Development Director Andrew Hamilton said that the idea had been ‘ridiculed’ at first.
‘In the beginning, Poundbury was ridiculed by some, but now happily, most commentators praise it for revolutionising the way we expand our communities and up and down the country there are other similar projects inspired by your example,’ he told the King.
Mr Hamilton added: ‘Many of us have joined with Your Majesty on this long journey. We started building exactly 30 years ago and now have a thriving community.’
Before the reliefs were unveiled, a member of the crowd shouted ‘we love King Charles’ to which the monarch smiled and waved in response.
The King joked that the new monument ‘very nearly unveiled itself’ as the wind picked up.
The couple admired a new bronze bust of the Duke of Edinburgh, which takes pride of place i the new garden
The King smiled proudly as he and his wife opened the garden named after his late father Prince Philip
The couple seemed taken by the beautiful new bronze and its accompanying plaque this morning
The King also unveiled a bronze relief made in his honour and in Queen Camilla’s honour as well
Royal seal of approval! The couple looked pleased with the bronze with commemorated their visit
King Charles looked in great spirits as he met royal fans this morning, with some snapping a cheeky picture
As part of the King and Queen’s visit to Poundbury on Tuesday, they also opened the new Duke of Edinburgh Garden, where they viewed the completion of a new bust of the monarch’s late father.
The Bronze bust of Prince Philip was sculpted by Frances Segelman, Lady Petchy, who has also sculpted the late Queen and His Majesty as the former Prince of Wales.
Ms Segelman said: ‘The King loves this one, he thought it was wonderful, he has seen it because there is one of them in the Palace.
‘It has been sculpted in the year 2000 but he asked if he could put another one here. He loved the shape of it and he loved it in this setting. It gives the impression of freedom, free to look at the beautiful view.’
Speaking after the King had conducted his final walkabout at the end of the visit, a Poundbury resident said it was clear how ‘invested’ he was in it.
The bronze of the late Duke of Edinburgh can be found in the centre of the new community space in Poundbury
Jackie Noel, 57, said: ‘He’s so natural and open. We were just saying how nice it is that he’s prepared to get so close to people and he’s so interested, you really feel he cares.’
The cleaner, who has lived in Poundbury since 2019, said that the success of the development ‘shows that you can do things differently from commercial urban developments and it works’.
She added: ‘It was a risky thing and they said it was ridiculed at the beginning but now I think everyone acknowledges that it’s been a huge success. And I love it, I never thought I would live here to be honest but actually I’m so glad I am.’