The Prince of Wales sipped a sloe and cherry gin and described it as “absolutely irresistible” as he spoke to traders during a visit to a market in wintry Cambridgeshire.
He and the Duchess of Cornwall toured stalls in Ely, with both stopping to sample apple juice, Camilla buying some brownies and Charles pausing beside a gin stall.
“Shall I try a drop?” he said, before laughing that it was served in the “biggest glass, big as my whole face!”
He called the gin “absolutely irresistible”, thanking stallholder Nancy Decleir and wishing her a happy Christmas as she gave him a bottle of the spirit.
Ms Decleir, who founded Ely Gin in the market seven years ago with her husband, James Clark, said afterwards: “What an honour to be able to present your product to such an audience.
She added: “He tried it neat, he enjoyed it, and I think, with these temperatures today, he can definitely use it.”
Charles and Camilla took time to speak to crowds of well-wishers as they carried out a series of engagements.
Krista Richardson, 34, of Littleport, was with her five-month-old daughter, Alexis, who squeezed Charles’s finger as he spoke to them.
“He just said she was bundled up really warm, wrapped up really warm, then she grabbed his finger and he said ‘She’s got a very strong grip’,” she said, adding it was “lovely”.
Maddy Boning, aged three, who was with a group of children from Rainbow Pre-School in Ely, gave Camilla a bunch of flowers.
Debbie Reed, manager of the pre-school, said the children were excited about the royal visit.
Charles also visited The Stained Glass Museum in Ely in his role as its patron, cutting a cake to mark its 40th anniversary.
He also visited an almshouse run by Thomas Parsons’ Charity, wishing residents an early happy Christmas.