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The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall mark Chinese New Year

19th February 2015

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall during an official visit to Chinatown to mark Chinese New Year, in London.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall during an official visit to Chinatown to mark Chinese New Year, in London.

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall may have earned themselves some good luck for the months ahead as they celebrated the start of the Chinese New Year in central London today.

Their Royal Highnesses arrived in London's Chinatown to a fanfare of colour, drums and dancing dragons to mark the first day of the year of the goat.

The Prince grinned as his wife attempted to make dim sum in the shape of money bags, believed to bring you luck and prosperity, before watching a demonstration on using chop sticks.

Her Royal Highness also tried the trickier art of Chinese calligraphy but was praised for her "impressive" first try at the character representing "sky".

Before officially opening the newly refurbished China Exchange, a cultural and business centre in the heart of China Town, The Prince attempted a few words of Mandarin but accepted he might need "a tutorial afterwards".

He also joked about the friendly dispute over whether it is the year of the goat or the sheep - a confusion which has arisen over the translation of the word "yang" into English.
Geoffrey Leong, owner of Dumplings' Legend visited by Their Royal Highnesses, said: "The first day of the New Year is the best day to take part in Chinese traditions, it means it will certainly be a lucky and happy year for (Charles and Camilla)."

He added: "We spoke about all the different animals and I told Prince Charles that I believed he was the year of the rat and Camilla was the year of the pig - I wasn't sure if he already knew that.

"Everyone in Chinatown is delighted that they have come here to celebrate with us. We are a big part of the London community so it's great to see them taking pleasure in these traditions."

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The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall celebrate Chinese New Year in Chinatown

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall during an official visit to Chinatown to mark Chinese New Year, in London.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall during an official visit to Chinatown to mark Chinese New Year, in London.

Christine Yok Wan Yau, Vice President of the London China Town Chinese Association, said of The Duchess's calligraphy attempt: "It's not bad actually, I am impressed for a first time - she has a very steady hand."

Two of The Prince's charities - The Prince's Foundation for Building Community and The Charities Foundation, China, were key in supporting and developing the concept for the China Exchange.

In an address to members of the community and benefactors of the centre, he said he hoped the building "will be a platform for the exchange of ideas between the East and the West".

He added the couple were "delighted to join you in celebrating the Chinese New Year".

A speech by HRH The Prince of Wales at the opening of the China Exchange in Chinatown, London

Published on 19th February 2015

Ambassador, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Xin Nian Hao (Happy New Year)! I rather hope the Ambassador will give me a tutorial after! The trouble is, I cannot tell the sheep from the goats, so I don't know, I'll have to hedge my bets!

Can I just say Ladies and Gentlemen, how thrilled my wife and I are to be able to join you to celebrate Chinese New Year today and to join you all at the opening of the China Exchange. 

Before unveiling this plaque, I did just want to pay a special tribute Sir David Tang for all the marvelous efforts he's put in, and for his extraordinary and creative vision for this cultural centre of excellence, and of course for his tireless work and commitment in ensuring that this remarkable project actually becomes a reality.  So David, many, many thanks for your efforts over the last 8 years since we came

I am particularly pleased, if I may say so, that two of my charities, my Foundation for Building Community and my Charities Foundation, China, have played a key role in supporting and developing the concept for this building which I hope will become a platform for the exchange of ideas between the East and West. 

Eight years ago, after my last visit here, my Foundation then held a community consultation event to see if they could help develop a consensus regarding the future development of Chinatown.  One outcome of the process, as I'm sure many of you now know, was the identification of this telephone exchange as a possible location for a Chinese Cultural Centre, promoting Chinese ...

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