Today, The Duchess of Cornwall began a day of engagements in East Sussex with a visit to The Charleston Trust, where Her Royal Highness opened the restored barns and new galleries following completion of the Charleston Centenary Project. Charleston was once the home to Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, who were both members of the Bloomsbury Group, an influential circle of artists, writers and intellectuals in the early 20th Century.
The Charleston Centenary Project was launched to safeguard Charleston’s heritage, and marked the centenary of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s arrival at Charleston. During the visit, Her Royal Highness saw Bell and Grant’s ‘Famous Women Dinner Service’, a unique set of 50 plates depicting famous women throughout history, from Cleopatra to Jane Austen to Mary Queen of Scots.
Next, The Duchess visited the newly opened Jamie’s Farm in Lewes to celebrate the charity’s 10th anniversary. Jamie’s Farm, of which Her Royal Highness is Patron, helps young people to flourish at home and in the community through a weeklong residential programme, designed to offer opportunities for achievement by taking on real farmyard jobs.
The Duchess undertook a tour and met staff and young people who were working on various projects around the farm. Jamie’s Farm now operates from Bath, Hereford, Waterloo, Monmouth and Lewes, with 1,800 children benefitting from the organisation annually.
The Duchess later joined the East Sussex Women of the Year Lunch, which is made up of around 250 women working in professional and voluntary roles in East Sussex. Each year, the Lunch raises awareness and funds for local charitable causes that involve women or their families. Since 2011, the organisation has raised over £70,000 for charity. This year, the Lunch is raising awareness of loneliness in the community.
Finally, The Duchess visited Ridgeview Wine Estate, a family-run sparkling wine business. Founded in 1995, Ridgeview was one of the first wineries to be devoted to the production of English sparkling wine, which is now exported to 17 countries around the globe.
After viewing the vineyard and undertaking a tour of the winemaking facility, Her Royal Highness, who is President of Wine GB, had the opportunity to taste some of Ridgeview’s wine. The Wine Estate recently won ‘International Winemaker of the Year’, making history as a first for English wine.