The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall received a rapturous welcome from the students of Liverpool University as they met Ireland's President Michael D Higgins.

It came during a visit to the city which also involved a meeting between Prince Charles and Dr Makaziwe, or Maki, Mandela, the daughter of former South African president Nelson Mandela.

Dozens of students lined crash barriers to catch a glimpse of the royal couple as they began a day of marking the city's culture, history and people by celebrating the university's Institute of Irish Studies.

The Duchess of Cornwall stands between the wings of artist Paul Curtis' mural entitled For All Liverpool's Liver Birds, in Liverpool's Baltic Triangle. Credit: PA

To Camilla's apparent displeasure, one excited student reached out to give the duchess a hug, which was not returned by the royal during a brief walkabout meeting young people.

Moonsun Kim, from Korea, who is studying supply chain management, said: "I've never seen a member of the royal family before. I was passing and heard the prince and his wife were coming and decided to stay. I hope I wasn't wrong to give her a hug."

She was joined on the meeting by her husband Charles, who later spoke to Dr Makaziwe, at a reception celebrating the city’s ethnic minority community in St George’s Hall on Tuesday.

Dr Mandela showed the prince a selection of her father’s drawings, which are on permanent display in the building.

The Struggles Collection of artwork was donated to Liverpool City Council and charity Mandela 8 last year, and is made up of five line drawings depicting the stages of South Africa’s development and the direct influence Mandela brought from struggle, imprisonment, freedom, unity and future.

Dr Mandela said Charles had praised the artwork.

“He thought they were great,” she said.

“I know that he paints but he said his drawings are not as good.

“He particularly liked the artwork about the future.

“I think he was impressed because he believes, as my father did, that the future is about children and he is a philanthropist as well.”

Nelson Mandela's grandaughter Tukwini (left) and his daughter Dr Makaziwe, or Maki, Mandela with local school children in Princes Park, Liverpool, where a permanent memorial will be built in his honour. Credit: PA

Dr Mandela, who is in Liverpool on a short visit, said Charles had spoken to her about attending her father’s funeral.

She said: “He said that it was a memorable event and he’ll never forget the music.”

Monday marked the 29th anniversary of Mandela, who led the movement to end South African apartheid, being released from prison after 27 years.

The Prince of Wales is visiting Liverpool Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

Charles met wellwishers outside St George’s Hall as he arrived and then walked through immersive theatre production The Alice Experience, a production based on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

He spoke to management and actors involved in the production and was treated to a short performance by the cast.

He finished his visit with a tour of the building’s recently rediscovered undercroft to view gallery spaces which have been created there.

The Prince of Wales and Irish President Michael D Higgins watched by the Duchess of Cornwall and Sabina Coyne sign a charter during a reception at Victoria Gallery and Museum, University of Liverpool, to celebrate Charles' and President Higgins' joint pat Credit: PA

Charles last visited the hall when he reopened it after refurbishment in 2007.

The building, which opened in 1854, is home to a Minton mosaic floor of more than 30,000 tiles.

It is the world’s first commercially air conditioned building and, when built, had the largest barrel vaulted ceiling and the largest piped concert organ in the world.