The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay were given a true taste of the north-east yesterday with a tour of some of the region’s most popular tourist destinations.
Crowds lined the streets to welcome Charles and Camilla, who spent the day at scenic spots throughout the seaside town of Stonehaven.
Charles began his day by opening the new Netherley headquarters of engineering firm W M Donald, then met up with his wife to look around the centuries-old Dunottar Castle.
The ruined medieval fortress is believed to have roots dating back to the Early Middle Ages, while its surviving buildings were largely built in the 15th and 16th Centuries.
It was purchased by the Pearson family in 1925 and its current owner, George Pearson, gave the royal couple a guided tour of its grounds.
Charles and Camilla made frequent stops as they chatted to tourists from all over the world – with many astonished they were visiting at the same time as royalty.
They then made their way to the castle’s drawing room where they signed the guestbook and paused for a cup of tea.
US tourist Angela Berger was able to have a brief conversation with Charles, discussing their mutual love for rural Scotland.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “I was born in Aberdeen but moved to the US when I was five.
“This is the first time in 43 years that I’ve been back here and to see the future king is so exciting.
“He spoke to me as well – what a joy.”
After the tour, Mr Pearson said: “Charles said it was the first time he had come to Dunottar, but it was somewhere he had always heard about and wanted to visit.
“He said the last Royal visit was by his great-great-grandparents in 1931, so it was really nice of them to come.”
The Duke and Duchess then paid a brief visit to the Stonehaven Tolbooth Museum, where they met volunteers who gained a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service earlier this year.
They also viewed the key used by the Queen Mother to officially reopen the building in 1963, when it had been restored after falling into disrepair.
The couple rounded off their day by visiting a trio of town centre shops – welcomed by the scores of people who lined the streets and waved flags.
Some even leaned out of upstairs windows to catch a snap of Charles and Camilla as they walked by, greeting children and patting the dogs of passers-by.
Robert Clark, who took over the 80-year-old Charles McHardy Butchers with his son Ricky in 2017, said: “It was absolutely phenomenal.
“It is a great honour to have them to visit Stonehaven and they were really nice.
“And it was good to speak to people who are interested in what we have in the shop.”
The pair then headed to E Giulianotti, a specialist sweet shop which is celebrating its 120th anniversary.
Owner Marjory Steven talked them through its long history, then served Camilla a sample of home-made chocolate ice-cream, and Charles some organic lemon sorbet.
“We were very excited about the visit and they couldn’t have been more charming,” she said.
“As far as I know we have never had a royal visit at the shop before, so this was really special.”
Charles and Camilla ended their trip at Graingers Delicatessen, which is run by David and Maia Hinchey.
They tried some samples of gingerbread, cheddar cheese and brownies, before leaving with a goodie bag packed with scones, artisan breads and jams.
Mr Hinchey said Charles immediately noticed his Melbourne accent and the pair connected over the fact that the royal had gone to school very close to where the deli owner’s parents stay.
He added: “If we had known how nice they were, we wouldn’t have been so nervous.”