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Australia: The Melbourne Cup

6th November 2012

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at the Melbourne Cup

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at the Melbourne Cup

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The Prince of Wales tried his hand at the ancient art of tapestry weaving today - and proved to be a natural.

His Royal Highness worked on a large textile piece that will have pride of place in a hospital during a visit to the Australian Tapestry Workshop in Melbourne.

Under the direction of senior weaver Sue Batten,  The Prince added a few threads to the tapestry depicting a rural scene complete with horses and cows.

The large artwork was fitted to a frame and The Prince pulled a few vertical threads, known as leashes, forward and threaded a bobbin, tied with pale blue thread for the sky, through the gap.

Turning to the banks of cameramen and photographers The Prince joked, "having a good laugh".

Ms Batten said later: "He was good, but the thing about The Prince is that he does value the arts and crafts, he thinks they should be recognised and maintained as part of our culture.

"In the world everything is about business and money and these things get neglected."

During the visit The Prince met children working on a joint project between the Australian Tapestry Workshop and his Prince's School of Traditional Arts.

His Royal Highness sat down amongst the local youngsters who had made a large geometric piece of artwork and spent a few minutes listening to them explain how they produced their work.

The Prince then went on to the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground to learn about the Harmony in Cricket programme.

The initiative brings together different communities through sport and the royal watched as youngsters practised their throwing and catching skills.

One little boy, 10-year-old Chien Mayoum, hit a single plastic stump with a ball time after time, but when The Prince had a go he missed by metres and joked: "I have broken my arm in two places so I can't do it."

Later The Prince and Duchess of Cornwall joined Australian racegoers at the famous Melbourne Cup where they were guests of honour at the prestigious sporting event that attracts tens of thousands of punters from across the country.

The Prince also took part in proceedings awarding the prize for a Diamond Jubilee race. 

The stands were packed when the royal couple arrived ahead of the famous Melbourne Cup.

Their Royal Highnesses went on a brief walkabout, shaking hands and waving at the crowds as they made their way into the main grandstand at Flemington racecourse.

Fashion is as much a part of the event as the horse racing and the women racegoers were dressed in summer dresses and wore hats and fascinators.

Among the guests was Camilla's favourite milliner Philip Treacy. 

He said: "It's a great honour to design hats for the future Queen of England and I'm very excited to be here on a day when the royal couple are in Melbourne."

For the Duchess he had created a wide brimmed cream hat that matched her flowing coat and dress by Bruce Oldfield.

The royal couple met some of the leading jockeys from the race in the weighing room including Ryan Moore from the UK, the three-times champion jockey who has only recently returned to flat racing after breaking his wrist in August. He was riding Mount Athos and was quizzed by The Duchess about whether he was suffering any jetlag.

Her Royal Highness, who is a keen horse rider and equestrian fan, told jockey James McDonald, riding Fiorente, that "it's a treat for us" to be at the Melbourne Cup.

The Duchess presented the Melbourne Cup to Green Moon owner Nick Williams.


View Album (8 images)