The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay visit Ayr

The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay today carried out engagements in Ayr.

To begin the day, Their Royal Highnesses unveiled a knitted art installation at Dumfries House in celebration of the Prince's Foundation's mission to get the world knitting. Draped over the estate’s historic Adam Bridge, the patchwork mosaic features over 9,000 hand-knitted squares contributed by individuals and knitting groups from all the world.

The team at The Prince’s Foundation, whose headquarters are at Dumfries House, received knitted squares from all over the world, including from Italy, Belgium, Tasmania, the United States and Canada. The squares were then sewn together to create the patchwork mosaic by staff from The Prince’s Foundation; participants of the charity’s textiles programmes; and prisoners from Cornton Vale Prison in Stirling as part of a rehabilitation initiative. The patchwork will be dismantled into smaller blankets and distributed to charities in need.

The Duke and Duchess later visited the cottage where Robert Burns was born in 1759. During a tour of the cottage, Their Royal Highnesses met local schoolchildren, volunteers, staff and friends of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

The world’s first Burns Supper was held in the cottage in July 1801, when nine guests sat down to a meal of haggis and sheep heads. Back then it was a memorial dinner, commemorating Burns’ death on 21st July 1796. Nowadays, Burns Suppers are held annually on the day of his birth, 25th January.

This afternoon, The Duchess of Rothesay officially opened the new refuge centre at South Ayrshire Women's Aid. Founded in 1977, the charity offers information, advice, support, advocacy and safe refuge accommodation for women, children and young people with experience of domestic abuse.

When the charity’s refuge accommodation first opened in June 1997, it was built as a communal facility. Over time plans were put in place to raise funds to change the facility to individual flats. After meeting a resident and her children in one of the eight new flats, The Duchess unveiled a plaque to mark the official opening of the renovated space.

The Duchess of Rothesay joins a Women in Journalism event
The Duchess of Rothesay joins an event with Women in Journalism

Back at Dumfries House, The Duchess later joined a Women in Journalism mentoring session and panel discussion. Founded by Eve Pollard 28 years ago, Women in Journalism is a not-for-profit organisation that provides guidance and support for its members through skills-based workshops, monthly panel events, an annual mentoring scheme, a weekly newsletter and networking events.

Speaking at the event, Her Royal Highness said:

It’s been a particular pleasure to speak to Yalda Hakim, who recently interviewed a Taliban spokesman with such focus and composure.

I’ve been reliably informed that in 2020, there were 700 female journalists working in Kabul. Today, there are fewer than 100. With the loss of 600 voices, the experiences of countless Afghans will remain untold.

All journalists who fight for truth and justice in the face of retribution deserve our thanks and admiration. Let’s do all we can to support, promote and, crucially, listen to the brave female journalists of Afghanistan, whose work puts them in danger every single day.