Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest updates about Their Royal Highnesses including news, events and photos straight to your inbox

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess
of Cornwall

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Prince Harry

Open

News and Diary

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall

Advanced Search

Show news and diary for:

Devon and Cornwall: Day Two

15th July 2014

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall outside River Cottage

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall outside River Cottage

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall enjoyed a visit a day on the farm, when they met Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at his famous River Cottage.

Their Royal Highnesses, who are on the second day of their annual visit to Devon and Cornwall, spent an hour at the chef's headquarters in Axminster, Devon.

The Royal couple first enjoyed a look round the River Cottage garden, which boasts around 60 species including sea kale and heritage purple podded peas.

The Duchess and The Prince were shown round the quarter-of-an-acre plot by Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall.

They then toured the inside of River Cottage's Park Farm, where seven aspiring home chefs were being taught how to fillet megrim sole in a cookery school.

John Wright, River Cottage's forager-in-chief, also played host to Their Royal Highnesses in his foraging class and introduced them to his dessert of seaweed chocolate pudding.

However, His Royal Highness was more interested in a bottle of rose petal vodka - and took a sip of the fragrant drink before pretending to sway as he left the room.

The couple attended a reception of 40 River Cottage employees and local experts, where they presented Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall with a Duchy Nursery Manaccan plum tree to plant. They were handed a hamper of all the River Cottage books to date, along with a bottle of the company's pale ale and posy of flowers grown on the farm.

Speaking at the reception, Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall said it had been an honour to welcome Their Royal Highnesses to River Cottage:

"That's not least because we all know that both of you very much share our passion, which fires us here at River Cottage, the passion for great foods and produce," he told The Prince.

"It was a few years ago that I had the privilege of a tour of your own wonderful vegetable garden at Highgrove and it's been a great personal pleasure to be able to finally return the compliment.

"I recall that one of the things we talked about that day was the alarming power of industrial agriculture and food production and how it threatened the character and charm of our local artisan food culture.

"On a global scale it sometimes looks like it's threatening the natural order and biodiversity that is the bedrock of this planet's ability to feed itself.

"Our seas, our rivers, our forests and of course, most of all, the very soil in which we grow our food."

Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall said he heard His Royal Highness speak at a symposium on marine conservation, at the same time as the launch of the chef's Fish Fight campaign.

"You said something that day which had really stayed with me," he went on.

"Something optimistic. That the crisis of overproduction in our seas is essentially a solvable problem

"And that with the right measures, and the right goals of sustainability in place, our seas would be not less productive than they are now but considerably more productive."

Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall paid tribute to The Prince of Wales's "tireless example and leadership" that helped such issues have a "hearing at the highest level".

His Royal Highnness  replied: 

"It has been nothing but the greatest pleasure for both of us to come and see what you're doing here. I wish we had a bit more time.

"I have been so amazed by the progress you've made since you started here and I had no idea how many people you employed and how many wonderful things you're doing.

"Having seen what you're doing here both of us would like to come and have a day's course in doing all sorts of things.

"I have long admired all your remarkable efforts to remind people of the necessity of our connection with nature and the rediscovery of those artisan traditions, which this country threw away rather unnecessarily.

"I remember 20 years ago you could never find a really interesting cheese in this country except Cheddar but the extraordinary explosion of artisan-made cheeses has been one of the most remarkable things in this country.

"You have been, together with one or two other people, so absolutely crucial in the reconnection, the re-understanding, the reawakening of all these absolutely crucial things.

"I want to say that you are an amazing beacon, what you've done on the side of fishing and trying to reduce over-exploitation has been remarkable.

"I can only wish you every possible success in the future because I know you are training people here to become those in the future who really can carry on doing the vital work."

The Prince presented Hugh with the plum tree, adorned with a cream and green ribbon, to be planted at River Cottage. Hugh told Charles the farm would use the plums raw, cooked and in jam. "You can send me a pot of it," he joked.

In the afternoon, The Duchess visited Exeter Library, where she took part in a children's drawing class

In the afternoon, The Duchess visited Exeter Library, where she took part in a children's drawing class

In the afternoon, Their Royal Highnesses met members of the emergency services who had been involved in relief work during the severe weather which hit the West Country earlier this year. The Prince and The Duchess watched a multi-agency training exercise at Exeter Airport which showed the synergy between the various services. 

Their Royal Highnesses then undertook separate engagements: The Prince visited Royal William Yard in Plymouth where he attended a reception to mark the 100th anniversary of the city, which was formed when the three towns of Plymouth, Stonehouse and Devonport were amalgamated. 

Meanwhile, Her Royal Highness opened Exeter Library, where she met staff and library users, including Alzheimer sufferers benefitting from the Memory Room, and schoolchildren taking part in a drawing class.