The Duke of Rothesay tried his hand as a silversmith yesterday as he visited a north-east town.
Prince Charles toured the new Smiddy Centre of Excellence for Silversmithing and Jewellery in Banff, which offers skills development opportunities to people around Scotland – including isolated and vulnerable young people.
Business partners Kate Pickering and Scott McIntyre opened the centre in September after six months of work to renovate the Auld Smiddy into a skills base for workshops.
To mark the duke’s visit, they presented him with a quaich made at the centre before silversmith Megan Falconer introduced him to some of those taking part in session.
She also showed him how to planish – smooth and finish – a communal bowl, handing him a hammer to get to work.
Ms Falconer said: “Everyone has had a bash on the bowl and I asked His Royal Highness to use the hammer to remove the marks from when the bowl was being raised.
“I was quite nervous showing him how to do it but he really got into it.
“It was lovely to meet him and he seemed interested in what we do.
“He definitely seemed interested in being here and learning about the craft.”
The Smiddy has been launched as part of the wider regeneration of Banff, and it is hoped visitors from across the country will be tempted to try out the traditional skill.
It was funded by the Banff Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme, Creative Scotland, the Scottish Government, Historic Environment Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council.
During his visit, Prince Charles unveiled a plaque at the centre to mark it officially open and signed the guest book.
He then walked through the town and along High Street to Banff Museum, where he viewed the collection of local silverwear.
On the way, he stopped after noticing a union jack flapping outside Bargain Land and shook the hand of owner Ian Wilkinson.
Mr Wilkinson said: “It was very nice to see him in the town and see him actually walking about speaking to people.
“We put the flag out especially in the hope he would be coming past – he’s a very polite man who had the time to stop and inquire about the shop.
“It was great to speak to him and see him exploring the area himself.”
Turriff woman Kelly Minty had been heading to the town’s famed Spotty Bag Shop when she saw him.
She said: “He was asking me about what I was planning to buy and why I was coming to the shop.
“We saw the cars when we arrived here and we got the chance to walk with him up Straight Path.
“We’ve met the Queen before so it was very exciting to meet her son.”
Spotty Bag Shop owner Des Cheyne was also delighted to meet the duke, and have the chance to chat about the success of the business and the employment it provides locally.
Mr Cheyne said: “It was quite an honour to meet him and a bigger honour that he asked about the shop and the work we do in the community.
“It was nice to be recognised as an important part of the town and he brought the sunshine with him which was lovely.”