'He was a joy': Returning to Berneray where King Charles lived as a crofter in secret 30 years ago

Broadcaster, and former ITV News at Ten presenter, Selina Scott, returns to the Hebridean island of Berneray for ITV News 30 years after making a documentary there with the then Prince Charles who secretly lived as a crofter for a week, sleeping in an attic the size of a 'Balmoral cupboard'.

Here, she recalls the magic of the island that bewitched the King, and speaks to the islanders who played host to the new monarch

Airing for the first time on Wednesday night, viewers will watch a short film I made this spring about the magical Hebridean island of Berneray, reprising a documentary I had made for the network about Prince (now King) Charles’s visit there 30 years ago.I had spent a week with Charles as he worked with crofters, walked the beautiful three mile long West Beach where the Atlantic rollers crashed on to the white sand, and filmed him learning about the ancient crafts and traditions of this most remote outpost of his United Kingdom.

The King (then Prince of Wales) on the Island of Berneray in 1999. Credit: PA

We filmed with 90-year-old Gloria McKillop who with her husband, Donald, hosted Charles in their modest croft. Charles slept in the attic the size of a Balmoral cupboard where the family cat had to be shooed off his bed every night.For me, it was a deeply nostalgic return to one of the most beautiful land and seascapes in Britain.I know Charles felt the same. After filming, there were many occasions when he would take his paints and canvas to sit on the rocks to capture the wildness of this unique place.

Gloria McKillop and her husband felt privileged that King Charles stayed in their home. Credit: PA

My return to Berneray gave Gloria McKillop the opportunity to remember Charles and how she and her husband felt privileged that he should come to stay in their home.

"He was a joy to be around and he could be naughty too. I remember when we served the evening meal of tatties and mince, he wolfed it down and would often spear potatoes off Selina’s plate."

I was accompanied back to Berneray by ITV News Special Events Producer, Jenny Gray and cameraman Tony Mewse, both as bewitched by Berneray and its beautiful people (population just 189) as I was.The weather, clear azure blue skies, not a breath of wind, the sea an opaque turquoise, the machair teeming with red listed birds, was just as I remembered it when I was there with Charles. A naturalist’s paradise.I hope ITV News' viewers will be just as enchanted.

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