The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have seen for themselves the devastating effects of the post-Christmas floods on a Yorkshire village.
Charles and Camilla were greeted with cheers from crowds in sun-drenched Stamford Bridge - a scene which was in stark contrast to the torrential rain which led to the flooding of the East Yorkshire village on Boxing Day.
The royal couple were greeted by staff at Chris Clubley & Co estate agents who told them how the water burst in through the back door and wrecked the shop.
They then moved to The New Inn where landlady Helen Ambler showed Charles and Camilla around the work which is ongoing to return the pub to normal.
Ms Ambler told the royal visitors how she woke at 8am on Boxing Day to find three inches of water in the building and she surrounded the pub with sandbags, but it did not help.
She said: “But by 10am there was a good foot-and-a-half and by 1pm there was 3ft of water. It came up so quickly.
“He offered to buy the whole pub a drink. He asked if the next time he’s passing, could he pop in.”
“And then it was just coming through the floor.
“It wasn’t the actual river water, it was the drains and the sewage coming up. It was awful”.
“It wasn’t pleasant but we got through it.”
Mrs Ambler said Charles asked them about the renovation work and whether they had insurance.
And he took a great interest in the bar, which has already been restored by a local craftsman.
She said: “It’s nice to be recognised that we’ve had a problem
“A lot of the emphasis has been on York but we did have it quite bad and it was very good to meet them.”
Ms Ambler said Charles left saying it was a shame he had come to the pub and not had chance for a drink.
She said: “He offered to buy the whole pub a drink. He asked if the next time he’s passing, could he pop in.”
Later both the Prince and Duchess congratulated Harrogate International Festivals on their ‘special’ 50th anniversary as they visited the town’s Royal Hall.
The royal pair enjoyed a private tour of The Royal Hall and a showcase of the Festivals’ events, including the ‘Musical Mums’ group, ‘Kids, Spies and Private Eyes’ and ‘Young Musicians’.
St John Fisher’s jazz band performed for supporters of the festival as The Royal Highnesses made their way into the historic auditorium.
British cellist and conductor Julian Lloyd Webber introduced celebrated opera singer and musician, Leslie Garrett and clarinettist Emma Johnson.
The pair, who both launched their glittering careers at Harrogate International Festival’s Young Musician Series, performed three flawless pieces in front of Charles and Camilla.
The Prince of Wales, a Patron of Harrogate International Festivals, then unveiled a commemorative plaque in the auditorium before congratulating the staff, volunteers and sponsors.
Prince Charles said: “I feel that as Patron of this remarkable institution, I must say how enormously proud I am to be associated over the last several years with this.
“It’s become a national treasure really. It’s been such a treat for both of us to join you here this morning for the 50th anniversary.
“It is clearly so special and means so much to so many people. Clearly I’m going to have to organise myself better in future in order to reach Harrogate in July to see a great deal more that the festival does.”
Lesley Garrett gave her very first recital as part of Harrogate Festivals and thanked them for making classical music available to a wider audience.
She said: “It’s wonderful to be here to celebrate this fantastic achievement. My first recital at the Swan Hotel told me I was going to go on and be a recital giver and travel the world.
“But, without the festival’s first support, I don’t really believe I would have got to where I am today.”
After watching 19-year-old Harrogate clarinettist Sam Gillespie perform, the royal couple unveiled the commemorative plaque before leaving the Royal Hall.
Excited fans greeted Charles and Camilla as they left to make their way to Harrogate Hospital, with some lucky members of the crowd even sharing a joke with the royal pair.
Paul Ratcliffe, visiting from Leeds said: “Prince Charles came over to me and joked that I should keep taking pictures of them, it was a really nice moment.
“We’ve waited here for about an hour and a half to see them but it was definitely worth the wait.”
Harrogate resident, Sarah Stanley, said: “I had a bit of a joke with Prince Charles because, when he came over, I had to admit to him my iPhone had just run out battery.
“He said to me I should have brought a camera instead. It didn’t matter as I was just so surprised that he came over to have a chat with us.”