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Old 03-09-2005, 11:23 PM
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Charles indulges in endless chit-chat
10 March 2005

It is part of the Prince's job description: endless small talk.

Charles' chit-chat yesterday covered the heat, his jetlag - "It's a long way and I'm still recovering" - and self-deprecating apologies for making people stand around waiting for him.

However, British-born, New Zealand-resident Sylvia Corin, 58, reckons she got the best exchange. As Charles walked through the Auckland War Memorial Museum to view weaving exhibition The Eternal Thread, he spotted the small blue, white and red, slightly squashed miniature hat atop Mrs Corin's curly hair, and called out to her.

"Where did you get that hat?"

"I got it at your first wedding, in London," said Mrs Corin. "It's 24 years old and I've had it as a souvenir in my bedroom all these years."

Charles laughed. "It's worn better than me!" he said, and moved on, leaving Mrs Corin feeling mildly embarrassed that she had mentioned disastrous marriage number one with number two so close.

However, her excitement at having had two seconds with a future King assuaged that. Others who turned out to see Charles in Auckland yesterday had to be content with waving home-made signs, like Daphne Pinkney of Orewa whose paper-on-cardboard efforts read "welcome to my future king" and "best wishes to you and Camilla".

Applause was tentative and scattered, as if people were not sure whether it was the done thing or not. "Bring back Camilla!" shouted one elderly woman, smiling broadly.

Charles' Auckland programme started with a late-morning arrival at Whenuapai air base in an Air Force Boeing 757, accompanied by a British press pack of several dozen.

Dressed in his uniform of commodore-in-chief of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, he reviewed 100 staff before doing a hangar walkabout, where several hundred staff and their families waited.

He asked uniformed staff where they had earned their medals, and civilians who their partners were. He commented that they had been "all over the place...I hope you didn't pick up any nasty diseases." He seemed relaxed and unrushed.

Anna Woollard, a 23-year-old flight officer, was terrified she'd trip over her tongue, but found the Prince "easy to talk to. He asks lots of questions and takes a keen interest in what he's asking you".

Charles, who is shorter and more trim than photos suggest, will never be accused of being touchy-feely in public. His hands stay rigidly at his side and he bends rather stiffly from the waist to hear people better.

However, when 10-month-old Jayme Saunders blew a big wet raspberry right at him, he spontaneously blew one back. Some of the young uniforms looked astonished at the sight of the royal tongue.

At a lunch at Westhaven restaurant Pontoon, Charles outlined the successes of The Prince's Trust, which assists young people into purposeful ventures and is now 10 years old in New Zealand.

Later at the museum he was presented with a kahuweka - a cloak of weka and pukeko feathers - by Iri Morunga and Kelly Walker, both 23, and both grandchildren of master weaver Te Aue Davis. As it was tried on, the cameras click-rate shot up .

Outside, Mrs Corin was still buzzing. "Kind - that's how he comes across. He obviously has pat answers to give people, but he comes across as warm and sensitive and caring for people. He gave back to me for my effort."

Prince Charles leaves New Zealand for Fiji today.

Old 03-09-2005, 11:33 PM
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Otago Daily Times

Prince's plea boosts Seaweek
09 March 2005


Prince Charles' passionate plea in front of the world's media for more to be done to stop the albatross from being wiped out was a fitting way to highlight the Department of Conservation's 2005 Seaweek, which began on Sunday.

The Seaweek theme this year is "One Ocean - Te Moana Takutahi". Activities organised by Doc will focus on the concept that everything is connected, both in terms of healthy ecosystems and the role people have as guardians.

Because endangered albatrosses cross vast oceans, their survival rests in the hands of countries and organisations. International co-operation is required to make sure the large seabirds do not become extinct, a possibility raised by Prince Charles during his visit to the Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head on Otago Peninsula on Sunday.

The prince spoke of dwindling albatross numbers and explained their deaths were avoidable through the use of "simple, inexpensive and very effective" technology.

However, ensuring international co-operation and making conservation measures mandatory on all fishing vessels needed to happen, which would be difficult to achieve.

As a part of Seaweek, Ministry of Fisheries principal scientist Dr Susan Waugh gave a presentation at Otago Museum last night focusing on studies about interaction between Royal albatrosses and deep-sea trawling vessels.

GPS data-loggers were used to track albatrosses from Taiaroa Head, and it was obvious the birds and vessels occupied the same tracts of ocean in the pursuit of food, Dr Waugh said.

While problems with long-line fishing vessels were well-known, albatross deaths associated with deep-sea trawlers were not. However more research would provide hard evidence which could lead to the adoption of fishing practices that could be necessary to halt albatross deaths, she said.

Seaweek runs until Sunday. Other organised activities include talks tonight and tomorrow at the Otago Museum, starting at 5.30pm, and a special Seaweek show at the museum's Discovery World during the weekend.

On Sunday, Doc has organised an exploratory trip to Shag Point, and the Otago branch of Forest and Bird will lead a bus trip to Nugget Point, where a marine reserve is proposed.
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Old 03-09-2005, 11:39 PM
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Otago Daily Times

Prince Charles wins over local ladies
08 March 2005

The three ladies-in-waiting sat patiently hoping for a glimpse of their prince.

Jeanette Stewart, of Wanaka, and Jeanette Parker and Sue Wilson, of Roxburgh, camped for three hours outside the gates of Moutere Station yesterday for a peek at Prince Charles.

With their deck chairs, packed lunch and sweeping views of the Manuherikia Valley and Dunstan Mountains, the three women looked like they were on a picnic outing.

The tranquil scene however was soon enveloped in chaos as police, air force personnel, helicopters and media descended.

"We wanted to see our bonny Prince Charlie," Mrs Wilson said, resplendent in a knitted tartan hat.

"And it was well worth it, because he walked right past us."

"He's such a lovely man," Mrs Parker said.

"I think the Royal Family are just wonderful."

Mrs Stewart emigrated to Wanaka from her native Wales three years ago.

"With Prince Charles coming so close to Wanaka I had to come down here to see him," she said.

"He really is marvellous. I'd hate to think what we'd have if they, the Royal Family, weren't there."

Mrs Stewart said she thought the future of the British monarchy was in good hands.

"He will make a great king one day."
Old 03-09-2005, 11:41 PM
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Dominion Post

Charles gets formal welcome at Government House
08 March 2005


Prince Charles has been welcomed to Wellington, serenaded with a love song from a school choir and congratulated on his pending wedding.

The formal welcome at a Government House function yesterday afternoon began with a 10-minute Maori challenge and a royal guard of honour. About 300 dignitaries, including Prime Minister Helen Clark, attended.

After Prince Charles crossed the huge lawn in front of Government House, followed by about 30 journalists, he was welcomed to the balcony by the St Patrick's College choir.

The choir sang love song Kiss the Girl from Disney movie The Little Mermaid, which choir director Roger Powdrell admitted was selected after he heard that the prince was to marry Camilla Parker Bowles next month.

Year 13 choir member Peter Bisley spoke to the prince after the performance. "I can't actually remember what he said to me but I said `Your royal highness, welcome to New Zealand'. . . and I said `I would like to congratulate you on your forthcoming marriage.' He seemed genuinely pleased about that."

Prince Charles described the choir's performance as "wonderful" and asked Mr Powdrell in disbelief if all the singers were school-aged.

Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright welcomed Prince Charles and also offered her congratulations on the wedding.

She thanked the prince on behalf of all of New Zealand for "the continuing ties between us".

Earlier, about 30 royal devotees greeted Prince Charles at Wellington Airport as he arrived from Dunedin on the second leg of his tour of New Zealand.

Barbara Goddard, a self-declared monarchist, was one of the first there and said she wanted to make the prince feel welcome. "So many people are running him down, so I thought I'd come to say, I'm with him."

The prince will spend today visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, the City Art Gallery and Te Omanga Hospice. He will dine at Government House, where he is staying, before leaving for Auckland tomorrow morning.
Old 03-09-2005, 11:43 PM
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Otago Daily Times

Prince put to work during day out on farm
08 March 2005

Prince Charles made a quick dash to Central Otago yesterday and tried his hand at shearing.

The prince arrived at Moutere Station, at the foot of the Dunstan Mountains, about 11.30am after being flown from Dunedin by Helicopters Otago pilots Graeme and David Gale. The prince was greeted at the 8000ha high country station by owner Tony Jopp, who was accompanied by Minister of Agriculture Jim Sutton. Local musterers Chip Duncan, Wayne Anderson and Brian Murray demonstrated their craft with their heading dogs Dodge, Maid, Jipp and Jill.

Prince Charles was then shown New Zealand merino wool products and champion blade shearer Peter Casserley demonstrated his skills, although his first sheep caused a commotion when it escaped and cannoned into the royal shins.

After some encouragement, the prince took the blade shears and cut several staples of wool off the ewe.

"I've done this before, many years ago," he said. "But I used the electric ones (shears) then."

Mr Casserley said the prince had done "really well".

"I reckon we'd make a shearer out of him," he said.

Moutere Station owner Mr Jopp said he was surprised to be asked to host the royal visit.

"I have no idea why Moutere Station was chosen. It was a real shock, but we're thrilled to be doing it," he said.

"I think New Zealanders are getting a bit divorced from royalty and we were probably a bit ambivalent about it at first. But we've certainly warmed to it. He seems like a great guy."

Prince Charles' love of farming is well known and Mr Jopp laughed when asked if he talked to his royal visitor as farmer to farmer.

"Ah, more like farmer to prince, I think," he said. "Although I'm sure there's a lot of things we can learn from him."

A member of the royal party, Alan Cotton, said the prince loved his rural visits. Prince Charles enjoyed a marquee lunch of Central Otago produce and wines provided by Orchard Garden in nearby Alexandra. With a wave, the prince then climbed into his helicopter and was gone.
Old 03-09-2005, 11:45 PM
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Prince at his best speaking from the heart
08 March 2005

Those who designed the New Zealand itinerary for Prince Charles were wise to include the Taiaroa Head Royal Albatross Centre.

It was in his speech during the visit there that the Prince of Wales was at his very best, speaking passionately, clearly and logically. He thundered about global apathy and the abuse of our oceans, about the fate of albatrosses and the devastation caused by long-line fishing. If the magical moment of an albatross' return was lost forever, and all 21 species continued towards extinction, then "we would sacrifice any claim whatsoever to call ourselves civilised beings," he said.

Clearly, the prince was on much safer ground than if he had been expounding his views on architecture or an alternative health remedy. After all, who could disagree with these sentiments? The albatross is an astounding bird and the fishing hooks of long-line boats kill thousands, perhaps even 100,000, every year. As the largest sea bird capable of migrating massive distances, it has an extra emotional and symbolic appeal. Yet, as Prince Charles said, 19 of the 21 albatross species are now under threat of extinction. When Forest and Bird, on behalf of the BirdLife International Save the Albatross campaign, collected signatures last year for a petition to be presented to the United Nations, the Prime Minister joined the Conservation and Environment ministers in adding her name.

While we in New Zealand are fortunate this country's commercial fishing industry, the Department of Conservation and the World Wildlife Fund have combined through Southern Seabird Solutions to confront the problem and to make New Zealand a world leader in sea-bird mortality mitigation measures, an international clamour must be sustained if the slaughter is to be reduced. Japanese long-liners now have observers on board in New Zealand waters and laws apply to local fishing boats. It must be hoped these laws are obeyed because a clean backyard provides a position from which to condemn more effectively international practices. More countries should be pressured to ratify the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels and, even more importantly, international efforts be continued to rid the oceans of the "pirate" vessels which disregard the laws of any country. It is estimated they are responsible for a third of total albatross and petrel deaths each year.

Some of the hard-bitten journalists covering the visit of Prince Charles to Otago were here with an eye and ear for a royal gaffe rather than for the fate of the Royal Albatross. For them, the prince's utterings were worthy but hardly worth reporting, because what was "new" in them? Nevertheless, even some media representatives were heard to comment on the degree of genuine emotion in the speech. Prince Charles was advocating vigorously and skilfully for a worthwhile cause and we can be pleased for that. Such heart-felt and well-placed feelings showed the people of this part of the world a positive and encouraging side to someone destined, one day, to be their king.
Old 03-09-2005, 11:56 PM
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Sunday Star Times

Here comes the groom
06 March 2005

Staff writer STEVE BRAUNIAS turns royal correspondent as Prince Charles - in his last solo engagement before marrying Camilla - begins his four-day visit to New Zealand today:

He looks good. Despite all his woes and humiliations, despite his frequent air of gloom, despair and some deep anguish, he looks happy, his own man. I can tell you this as a witness to the bearing and manner of His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, so often also known as the great royal clot, as he begins his New Zealand tour of duty, after arriving in Dunedin last night.

I spent quality time with Prince Charles on Thursday, in Melbourne. Actually, it was quantity time, nine hours straight from 12 noon in the shadow of a 56-year-old man who has perfected the staid art of walking very slowly with his hands clasped behind his back. The sun on a cloudless, glaring afternoon turned his cheeks, and the bald oval on the back of his head, a cheerful shade of pink. He wore a royal flush. It suited his holiday mood.

In the past week, he has inspected a lobster farm in Perth, and eyed up witchetty grubs in Alice Springs; in New Zealand, the company of beasts extends to visiting the Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head this afternoon, sidling up to sheep at an Alexandra station on Monday, and attending a reception hosted by Prime Minister Helen Clark in Auckland on Wednesday.

Melbourne was perhaps more his style. He was shown organic fruit and vegetables at a downtown market on the banks of the Yarra River. The seedless grapes particularly took his fancy. He told the stallholder: "Well done."

His equerry, Richard Pattle, stayed close to his side. Swift of foot and erect of carriage, the RAF squadron leader maintained the illusion of vast importance even though it seemed his sternest test that day came when a woman approached him with a jar of goat's cheese, and asked that it be presented to Charles.

"I shall see to it!", he responded, and went bounding off with the jar wrapped in white paper. Such errands uphold the monarchy.

A nice old dear hurried past the stall selling buffalo sausages to get closer to the Prince, but stopped and hissed at me: "I'm not standing with them!" She meant a vaguely rowdy group of republican protesters; one hooted, "Charlie! Get your mother's murderers out of Ireland!"

Useless teenagers slouched by, and shared this useless exchange: "Is that him? The old guy?"

"Dunno. Where's his wife?"

The centre of attention sailed on in a double-breasted suit, his neck in the tight noose of his knotted tie, his wrists pinned down by cufflinks. He was awfully apologetic. He said to well-wishers in a low, grave voice, fluting out of his long beak: "Have I interrupted your shopping?" And: "I hope I haven't got in your way."

He wore his heart on his face. His pellucid blue eyes brimmed with nameless sorrows and disappointments, but only when they looked at the ground. Was he pondering his latest mishap - the unseemly row over his wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles on April 8?

No, said aides, you can't marry in Windsor Castle; no, said the Queen, she will not attend the ceremony ... The lunchtime crowd at the market hung over the railings, and clapped, a happy tinkle of sound that lifted his head.

A voice cried out: "Congratulations on your marriage!" Prince Charles replied, "Oh, thank you." And then he quipped: "How did you know?"

He has always had a droll wit about him. This remains evident in the flashes of merriment that light the damp cellar of his eyes, and in the wryness of his smile. In fact, the line of his lips may well be his most revealing feature. There is something furtive about his mouth; it hints at sensual and lascivious intent. He wants to have fun. But is it allowed?

After praising the quality of beetroots and olives, the Prince was ushered into a very ugly building to sip San Pellegrino mineral water and launch a business and community project which aims to address Melbourne's social ills. He referred to a similar scheme that he had once supported. "Until gradually," he added, his mouth twitching with an irresistible impulse, "as the actress said to the bishop, it became too big for me."

It went down somewhere in the order of a lead balloon. But soon he was on the move, in the back seat of a white Ford Fairlane, at the head of a five-car convoy en route to a primary school. He watched with a quizzical eye as children competed in an egg and spoon race. "Well done," he said. He watched a sack race. "Good luck," he said. He watched a child water a box of herbs. "Parsley is jolly good stuff," he said.

The day, and Melbourne's raging heat, wore on. By the time the royal party arrived at a hockey and netball centre, it appeared as though His Royal Highness had shrunk. But this was because he stood next to a blonde netball coach with very long legs.

She laughed as he murmured up into her pretty face. And then much more laughter, peals of it, as Charles was surrounded by a herd of hot, gasping teenage girls fresh from the netball court. Is he handsome? He has a proud nose. His teeth are even, and as polished as a squadron leader's boots. The flapping Dumbo ears that cursed his youth have settled down, and rest closer to the home of his head.

Also, he is gentle, civilised, charming. Charm, wrote Evelyn Waugh, is the great English disease; but it brings humour and health to the otherwise melancholic, solitary figure of the brooding Prince.

The tour ended that evening at Geelong Grammar, a stately, red-brick private school an hour south-west of Melbourne. The night had turned cold. A stiff breeze blew off the waters of Port Philip; a murder of crows got up to no squawking good in the plane trees. But still the Prince remained in fine spirits.

This was a nostalgic homecoming: he had studied here for two terms, as a 17-year-old in 1966. Now, he was a Geelong Old Boy, called on to plant a gum tree, which is to say he languidly shovelled three piles of dirt, and then waved his spade in the air to the cheering crowd. He said to students: "It was very good to see you." And: "Good luck."

These were no doubt very sincere and heartfelt messages. I felt this when he spoke to me earlier in the day. I had torn off my media ID, stood in line with the crowd at the organic market, and soon found myself being approached by the Prince. He stopped and gave a handshake to a man beside me, who said in a guttural voice, "Welcome to Australia!"

Charles replied, "How kind of you. Where are you from, originally?"


"Ah, so you're Turkish."

That superb dialogue concluded, Charles then met my eye, and pressed his dry, firm palm in my anxious paw. Having just learned his tremendous interest in geography, I blurted: "New Zealand!"

He smiled. He said: "I'm coming there quite soon." I smiled. I said, "Yes."

His parting words were spoken with great warmth, with keen anticipation of his visit, with visions of docile sheep and succulent lamb chops filling in the blanks of his eyes: "Well done".
Old 03-10-2005, 12:23 AM
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Fiji Times

I'm ready to meet the Prince, says 105-year-old
(Thursday, March 10, 2005)

Centenarian Bechu Prasad is excited to meet Prince Charles and has prepared to wear his popular white shirt and tattered hat for the occasion.

The 105-year-old Sabeto farmer said yesterday he did not know what he would discuss with the prince when he meets him tomorrow and could only determine that when they actually meet face to face.

"Right now I cannot say anything about the meeting but I am excited and will know what to say after our meeting,'' he said. "In the meantime I really do not know what to say but I am glad that he remembered an old man like me.''

Mr Prasad is no stranger to the royal family. He met Prince Charles when he came in 1970 for the Independence celebrations.

Mr Prasad said he was honoured that the Government recognised his contribution to the Lautoka Advisory Council and arranged for the meeting.

"I did a lot during my days with the Advisory Council and I am glad that the Government recognised my contribution,'' he said.

Mr Prasad said he has been a member of the Council for more than 60 years.

He is retired but still acts as an adviser to anyone seeking assistance.

He said his parents, who were from Punjab, came to Fiji during the Girmit days. He has tried to maintain his links with his ancestors in Hariyana north of India.

The father of four sons and five daughters said Fiji had changed a lot since he was a young man.

He said leaders in the country needed to be concerned about the welfare of everyone because there was no way that Indians would return to their homeland.

Mr Prasad said he loved Fiji because he was born here but if the Government one day decided to send Indians back, he was willing to return.

He has urged Indians to stay peacefully in the country and to work hard for the welfare of the country.

Mr Prasad said the younger generation bred in the country these days were loose with most turning to crime because they had no respect for others.

"These youths do not respect their mothers and their fathers and some of them cannot make out the difference between their sisters and their brothers any more because the values within societies has crumbled,'' he said.

The road to his Sabeto home was specially tarsealed by the Public Works Department yesterday because of the royal visit.

He said Indians and Fijians should learn to stay, play, eat and live together.

"My advice to the young generation is to respect their parents and to treat older people with respect,'' he said.

He said leaders were setting the wrong example by fighting with each other for political gain.

"More people are educated as lawyers, doctors and experts but they have political agendas instead of creating racial harmony for everyone in the country in order to set good examples for the younger generation," he said.

Meanwhile, a police officer Maika Fesaitu, who is assigned to open the door for the prince when he disembarks from the motorcade at the airport, said he was excited to be chosen for the role.

"I have spent 18 years in the force and this is the first time I would be doing something so honourable for a member of the royal family and the only thing I can say is that I would play it to the best of my ability,'' he said.

Chief Executive for Home Affairs Lesi Koro-vavala said they were working to the budget and all security aspects had been taken care of.

Viseisei Village spokes-man Etuate Tavaiqia said the villagers were given a great privilege to welcome Prince Charles to Fiji with a full Fijian traditional ceremony.

"This is a great honour. Usually it is the villagers around Suva who have the honour with royal visitors. This time it is the western people and it is Viseisei villagers in this matter," Mr Tavaiqia said.
Old 03-10-2005, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Anna_R
Camilla Parker Bowles Visits Chippenham Police Station - March 9, 2005
March 9, 2005 - Chippenham Police Station
Chippenham, Great Britain

From Wireimage
Is this her Royal Visit? I think this her first visit without Charles.
"God save our Gracious Queen,
Long live our Noble Queen,
God save The Queen"
God save Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Old 03-10-2005, 01:23 AM
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Prince Charles Visits Mountain View Primary School and Opens Potters Childrens Garden In Auckland
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Old 03-10-2005, 01:26 AM
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More from March 10th. Gettyimages and Polfoto
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Old 03-10-2005, 04:05 AM
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After NZ, Prince Charles will have a short visit to Fiji before coming back to England.
"God save our Gracious Queen,
Long live our Noble Queen,
God save The Queen"
God save Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Old 03-10-2005, 08:12 AM
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10 MARCH 2005

Prince Charles may have a price to pay for getting engaged to his longtime companion Camilla Parker Bowles – a whopping £20,000 tax bill.

When he popped the question, the heir to the throne gave his fiancée a £500,000 platinum and diamond ring which once belonged to the Queen Mother. And now it seems he faces paying a Capital Gains Tax on the sparkler, reports the Daily Express, thanks to Inland Revenue rules governing the transfer of family heirlooms.

The ring, given to the Queen Mother by King George VI in the 1920s, has increased in value since the royal matriarch's death in 2002. Thus Prince Charles, the bauble's new owner, apparently became liable to pay the tax upon giving it to his future wife.
Old 03-10-2005, 08:16 AM
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A delighted Charles and Camilla make their first appearance after the engagement news broke
Photo: ©

The £500,000 heirloom ring features a square-cut diamond with three diamond baguettes on either side
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Old 03-10-2005, 08:35 AM
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9 MARCH 2005

Prince Charles' future wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, has left royal watchers in little doubt that she always stays on the right side of the law. Just hours after Registrar General Len Cook overruled objections to her forthcoming wedding, the future Duchess of Cornwall was pictured having a laugh with bobbies in the Wiltshire town of Chippenham.

The 57-year-old, who was proudly sporting her engagement ring, stopped by her local police station to show her support for its charitable work. Camilla is the main patron and fundraiser for the "Bobby Van Trust", which was set up by officers to help vulnerable members of the community.

The organisation's three Transit vans are used to visit people who have fallen victim to crime or fire, fitting their homes with safety devices like locks and smoke detectors. Since it was set up in 1998 the scheme has helped over 5,000 people to sleep a little easier at night.

Camilla's day out marks her first public appearance since her wedding plans were announced last month. St James's Palace has stressed that it shouldn't be considered an official royal engagement, but it is sure to be taken as evidence of her growing importance nonetheless.

Officers and volunteers who received her in Chippenham didn't seem to concerned about the status of the visit, though. "Mrs Parker Bowles is genuinely interested in what we do," said project coordinator Ruth Entwistle. "I am very happy she is getting married too."
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Old 03-10-2005, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Anna_R
Prince Charles at a sheep farm

From Colourpress

I just love this shot!
Old 03-10-2005, 05:47 PM
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Thanks for the pic.
Old 03-10-2005, 07:28 PM
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The man can't seem to win. If I were him, I would've waited to get her a sparkler until the wedding. In the US there is an engagement and a seperate wedding ring.

Does anyone know if they have a prenup? If I were him I would, no matter who I was marrying.
If you want something done right, do it yourself.
Old 03-10-2005, 10:27 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: East of the sun and west of the moon, United States
Posts: 6,422
Fiji Times

Soldier meets prince
(Friday, March 11, 2005)

A soldier will never forget the once-in-a-life time opportunity experienced yesterday when the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles spend a minute or two to chat with him.

Bright smiles painted Private Josua Racele's face when Prince Charles asked him a few questions during the Guard of Honour.

Private Racele could not stop smiling but only nodded his head in response.

"I still can't believe he spoke to me," said Private Racele.

Private Racele, a member of the Military Guard of Honour, which assembled before Prince Charles, was the first soldier who spoke to the Prince.

"I thought he was talking to my neighbour but he was looking at me and I was nervous, frightened but happy to be given the opportunity to talk to Prince Charles," said the Nailaga villager of Ba.

Private Racele tried to avoid the media by hiding in the bus after the Guard of Honour but was pushed by friends.

"It was an honour to speak to Prince Charles and I am so happy."

Private Racele, who is based at Lautoka 's Duke of Edinburgh military barracks, said Prince Charles asked him a few questions.

"He asked me where my last place of duty was and he also thanked me for being in the military," Private Racele said.

"I told him that I last went to East Timor and that was when he thanked me for being a soldier."

Private Racele believes the conversation with Prince Charles was a blessing.

"Nobody talks to them anyhow but he did talk to me and I am so lucky."
Old 03-10-2005, 10:28 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: East of the sun and west of the moon, United States
Posts: 6,422
Fiji Times

Close to the heart
(Friday, March 11, 2005)

QUEEN Elizabeth holds the people of this nation close to her heart, said son Prince Charles.

Addressing chiefs, government officials and hundreds of villagers gathered at Viseisei in Vuda yesterday, the heir to the throne said he, too, had special memories of the country during his previous visits.

"She holds all the people in Fiji in a very special place in her heart and wanted me to send you her particular good wishes on this occasion,'' he said after a traditional welcome ceremony at the chiefly village.

"I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful ceremony.

"It is a real joy to come back to Fiji after 30 years and I am deeply touched and grateful for the wonderful welcome on this occasion.

"As you can imagine I have had the happiest and most special memories from my previous visits here and I look back with immense affection to those days in 1970 when I was able to represent her majesty the Queen at your Independence celebrations.

"I can assure you that I along with other members of my family have nothing but the most special affection for this remarkable country and indeed all its special people."

Prince Charles is on a tour of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

He last visited the country in 1985 when he passed through Nadi with the late Princess of Wales, Princess Diana.

He came here in 1970 to present the instruments of independence to Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara in front of thousands of people at Albert Park.

He returned in 1974 for the 100th anniversary of Fiji's cession to Great Britain.

He said it was sad that on this occasion he was only visiting for a short time.

But he looked forward to seeing some of the examples of what was done here and the changes that had taken place in the past 30 years.

He said he looked forward to meeting as many people as possible.

It took a couple of seconds to gulp down the yaqona presented to him by Ratu Josaia Tavaiqia the son of the former Tui Vuda Ratu Jeremaia Tavaiqia.

Meanwhile, women of Vuda presented the vakamamaca (fine mats) for Prince Charles while the Great Council of Chiefs presented him with pigs and dalo fit which took about 16 men to lift.

While the traditional welcoming ceremony was conducted the Tui Vuda and President Ratu Josefa Iloilo continued to share light moments with the prince in a special bure in the village green.

The road down to the village was lined with school children in uniforms and ladies in matching blouses and skirts as the motorcade made its way down to the village.

On the way to Viseisei, people lined the highway to catch a glimpse of the prince.

Bau chief Ratu Tua'akitau Cokanauto, who presented the qaloqalovi, said it was a great honour to be chosen by the Great Council of Chiefs for the task.

"I also presented the qaloqalovi when the Queen came in 1977 and for other royal visits following that,'' he said.

"And it is indeed a great honor to perform this presentation on behalf of the chiefs in Fiji to the heir to the throne of England and maybe his next visit he will come as king."

Ratu Tuki said there was special bondage between Fiji and the royal

household and when one performs in an occasion like this you feel very proud indeed, he said.

He said the relationship between Fiji and England was a special one that goes a long way back to 1874 when the chiefs and Ratu Cakobau first asked for a commitment from Queen Victoria whether she could rule the country with affection.

"She agreed to rule with affection in order that unity and prosperity would be regarded and with that commitment the chiefs gave Fiji in cession — which is why the relationship remains very special." The prince was also presented with a club dance performed by more than 40 men from Vuda and even took time off to share some words with the men.

Women and children finally found an opportunity to greet him as he left the village green when protocol was slightly relaxed and they waved shouting: "Bula Prince Charles".

The prince later had a special session with the Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase before he attended a special dinner hosted by the British High Commission at the Sheraton.

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