His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has begun a second day of engagements in Northern Ireland with a visit to Mount Stewart House and Gardens to meet staff and volunteers of the National Trust.
His Royal Highness became Patron of the conservation charity in 2003, supporting its role to promote the permanent preservation for the benefit of the nation of places of beauty or historic interest.
The Prince was welcomed to the estate on the Ards Peninsula by Mr David Lindsay Lord-Lieutenant of County Down and went on to meet Mr Roy Bailie OBE National Trust Regional Chairman, Ms Hilary McGrady Northern Ireland Director, Mr Jon Kerr Property Manager and Mr Eoin Lane Lead Gardner.
HRH accompanied by Mr Lane enjoyed a tour of the unique and extensive gardens that were transformed by Edith, Lady Londonderry in the 1920’s. The Prince of Wales also had the opportunity to meet garden staff and volunteers
During the tour His Royal Highness accepted an invitation from Mr Lane to plant a Japanese Katsura tree to commemorate the visit. Assisting with the planting was Mr Colin Dawson, the Trust’s Spademaker who met His Royal Highness in 2003 during a visit to Patterson’s Spade Mill at Templepatrick. The spade used for the planting ceremony was made at Patterson’s.
Before moving inside The Prince of Wales met Mr Will Taylor and Mrs Cynthia Taylor joint owners of Glastry Ice Cream, who invited The Prince to sample their exclusive Mount Stewart lavender flavoured ice cream.
Inside the 18th Century House His Royal Highness had the opportunity to view many of the portraits, sculptures and pieces of memorabilia, including the Hambletonian “Rubbing Down” painting by the 18th Century painter George Stubbs.
In recognition of the Royal visit, His Royal Highness was Guest of Honour at a reception attended by around 80 guests and, following words of welcome from Mr Bailie, The Prince of Wales accepted a gift of a handcrafted wooden bowl, made from Mount Stewart yew which was presented by Mrs Helen Harrison a member of the Mount Stewart staff.
His Royal Highness signed the visitors’ book before departing for the next engagement.