Charles and Camilla surprise schoolchildren during Tower of London visit

Schoolchildren visiting the Tower of London enjoyed a surprise meet-and-greet with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, as the royal couple toured one of London's most popular attractions.

Charles and Camilla chatted to the public as they walked through the grounds. The couple were there to mark more than 500 years since the creation of the Beefeater guards, and for a celebration of 50 years of VisitBritain.

Camilla asked some of the schoolchildren how they were enjoying their half-term break, while Charles told them they might be asked to write essays about their visit.

He joked: "See how much you can remember. When you get older you can't remember a thing."

One schoolteacher visiting from France said it was "perfect timing" that they chose to go to the Tower this week. She added: "The kids are very, very happy."

Earlier the couple met more than a dozen Yeoman Warders, commonly known as Beefeaters, and Camilla cut a lantern-shaped cake marking the 535-year history of the guards.

Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall pose with Beefeaters

The cake, symbolising the lantern used to guide the chief warder as he locks up the tower - once a prison and place of execution - each night, was gifted by Camilla and made by Julie Brownlee, who has previously baked for the duchess.

The cake included two small sugar figures of wardens dressed in the traditional ceremonial and everyday uniforms standing alongside the gold lantern and a set of silver keys.

Before lifting a replica of Henry VIII's hunting dagger to slice into the white chocolate and raspberry-flavoured sponge, Camilla quipped: "It's going to be off with their heads."

Admiring the artistry of the cake, Charles said: "It seems an awful pity to make a mess of it."

Duchess of Cornwall cutting a cake during their visit to the Tower of London

Charles, who is patron of English Tourism Week, and Camilla met representatives of tourist attractions from London and elsewhere in the UK.