Crowd welcomes Duke and Duchess of Cornwall at Exeter Cathedral

  • Watch Richard Lawrence's report

Around 100 people gathered to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall in Exeter this afternoon (19 July).

The royal pair have begun their annual three-day tour of Devon and Cornwall and first arrived, mask free, at Exeter Cathedral.

After the cathedral lost millions of pounds in revenue from visitors and cancelled functions since March 2020, their visit has been hugely appreciated.

Prince Charles is the Patron of the Development Appeal and Restoration Fund and the couple were greeted by Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant for Devon, David Fursdon.

They also met representatives from Devon Wildlife Trust, Parklife Heavitree, Exeter City Community Trust and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust.

Prince Charles is the Patron of the Development Appeal and Restoration Fund. Credit: ITV News

For his next stop, Prince Charles visited Exeter's new £8million bus station - a suitable location to discuss how the city will reach a carbon neutral target by 2030.

One example is how a former landfill site near the river will become a solar powered battery plant, paid for by the European grant, and will power the council's fleet of vehicles.

Jo Pearse, Energy Manager for Exeter City Council, said: "Once we get the correct vehicles, we'll actually be carbon negative once we've electrified everything and we have a supply of renewable energy.

"[Prince Charles] thought it was great. He was really interested in the project and the site. He asked why we're putting solar panels on the ground and not on roofs.

"So, he obviously understands the challenges and I explained that it was actually a redundant landfill site. It's on a flood risk zone."

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall played their own part today by arriving in an electric car.

After meeting the local community and environmental groups in the open air, Charles and Camilla walked over to a line of residents who had been waiting for them to arrive.

The Duchess chatted to Exeter resident Sarah Clarke, who said afterwards: "She said it's lovely to be here and hopefully we're over the worst of it and I said 'fingers crossed'. "She also said we've just got to be careful."

The Prince of Wales visited Exeter's brand new £8million bus station. Credit: ITV News

Tomorrow (20 July) they head off to a number of Cornish destinations for various engagements.

On the last day, Wednesday 21 July, they head back to Devon and will visit Burton Art Gallery in Bideford.

Their very final destination will be in Devon but the location cannot be disclosed until their arrival.

This is the first time the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have been able to visit the South West since their last tour in July 2019.