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Prince Charles and Camilla

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall: South West Tour, Day One

Picture by i-Images / Pool

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall began their annual visit to Cornwall and Devon on Monday.

Prince Charles and Camilla visited the Tintagel Castle, one of the many castles found in the Cornwall region, and Prince Charles officially opened the Tintagel Footbridge, making him the first Duke of Cornwall in at least 500 years to enter the Tintagel Castle the way it was originally intended.

According to Clarence House, the footbridge “recreates the historic link between Tintagel Castle’s mainland and island wards and allows visitors to observe coastal views not seen since the Middle Ages.”

The Tintagel Castle also has ties to Arthurian legend, as the King of Britain, Uther Pendragon, stole away across the footbridge and into the castle to spend the night with Ygerna, the Duchess of Cornwall, and she later gave her to their child: the future King Arthur.

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The Duke of Cornwall, Richard, Earl of Cornwall, so loved the myth that he had the castle built with the land-bridge in the 1230s and 1240s.

English Heritage has restored the land bridge area, which had been destroyed in the 15th or 16th century, and it covers a 190-foot gorge that “follows the line of the original route between the 13th-century gatehouse on the mainland and the courtyard on the jagged headland or island jutting into the sea. This historic crossing was so significant that it gave rise to the place’s name, the Cornish Din Tagell meaning ‘the Fortress of the Narrow Entrance.’”

While walking across the footbridge, Prince Charles joked that the Duchess wasn’t good with heights, and she replied, “I’m not looking down, I’m looking above.”

English Heritage posted about the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit on social media, writing: “We were honoured to welcome The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall to Tintagel Castle, where His Royal Highness officially opened its footbridge.

“In crossing the bridge, HRH became the first Duke of Cornwall in 500 years to enter the castle the way its builders intended!”

Afterwards, Camilla visited the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust’s base in Newquay and launched its new ‘Duchess of Cornwall’ helicopter. Camilla’s visit was also tied into the 10th anniversary of her patronage of the Trust.

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Camilla had an unconventional moment in naming the helicopter: she removed a face covering from the nose of the aircraft in a nod to COVID-19 restrictions.

She also met with a young girl who had been a former patient of the Cornwall Air Ambulance, Leya Raper, who is now fundraising for the Trust by making bracelets. She has so far raised over £1,000. Leya gave Camilla her very own bracelet during their meeting.

“It was an honour to welcome Her Royal Highness to officially name the new helicopter,” said Paula Martin, Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust’s Chief Executive, in a statement. “The people of Cornwall and beyond worked tirelessly to fundraise for this incredible new air ambulance and it has been a very special year for the charity to see it come into service.

“The Duchess was at Royal Cornwall Show when we launched the appeal to years ago, so it’s great to welcome her back to see the fantastic result of everyone’s hard work and learn about the difference this new aircraft is already making to critically ill people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall continue their visit to the area on Tuesday.

About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.