THE Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall charmed crowds across Oxford on a whirlwind trip to the city.
Prince Charles and the Duchess visited Maggie’s cancer support centre, Kellogg College, the Clockhouse project, the Covered Market and officially opened the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies – 32 years after it was set up.
The Royal couple took time to meet people including shopkeepers and cancer patients during the tour on Tuesday as well as passers-by stunned to suddenly be in the presence of a future King.
They began with a tour of the Covered Market and the Prince of Wales was eager to learn about its local traders and produce.
After meeting staff at the new Colombia Coffee shop they headed for The Garden florist shop.
Owner Paul Birtles, who has worked in the Covered Market for 30 years, said: “Its the most exciting thing to happen in all my time here
“Prince Charles was brilliant, he put everyone at ease and The Duchess said she wanted to come and work here - arranging flowers.”
Mr Birtles’ daughter Amelia, 14, presented Her Royal Highness with a bouquet partially made up of flowers in her wedding bouquet.
The whistle-stop tour then took them to Brown’s Cafe, which has been in the market since the 1920s.
Father and son Agostinho and Humberto Freitas, owners since 1994, were delighted to welcome royalty.
Mr Freitas Sr said: “It was a dream for me, it was great Prince Charles was so interested in what we do."
For one particular family the appearance of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in the cafe was a bit a shock.
Kerry Winfield, who lives in Abingdon Road, was having a drink with her daughters Chantel Winfield and Donna Cole - along with two-year-old Harley Cole.
Her father Ray Davis died a year ago on Monday and was a regular at the cafe.
She said: “It was quite a surprise - he apologised for interrupting us but it was fine, they were so lovely.
“My father was always in here and we wanted to go somewhere that would mean something."
Oxford Cheese Company owner Will Pouget, whose uncle went to school with the Duchess, was delighted the Royals popped in.
He said: “Charles is the champion of independent small businesses and all the traders are delighted he has visited - the last ten years have been particularly hard here and we don’t want to be left behind by the Westgate so it’s great for the profile of the market."
As they departed for their next engagement The Cake Shop presented them with a special cake.
Proprietor Sally Davis said: “I wanted to make a cake that sums up the market so made a long one with a row of shops and cafes on it."