THE Duchess of Cornwall sampled the delights of Carmarthen Market and enjoyed a special 40th anniversary performance from Carmarthen and District Youth Opera at the town’s Lyric Theatre.
Her Royal Highness has been Patron of The Carmarthen and District Youth Opera since 2010 and visited the Lyric to watch a performance of songs from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, meet members of the cast, as well as volunteers who help run the production to mark the youth opera’s 40th anniversary.
She was accompanied by Welsh tenor Wynne Evans, also famous for the Go Compare adverts, whose mother Liz, was one of the founders of the youth opera.
The Duchess met 103-year-old Nancy Butters, a longstanding stalwart of the youth opera, and discussed how much she was looking forward to the performance.
Eighteen-year-old Oliver John, who played the role of Potts, said he was amazed when the Duchess said she recognised him.
“She said she recognised me from when I performed years ago at Llwynywermod, but I was only a kid then,” he said. “She talked to us about the show, it was real privilege to meet her.”
HRH was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Alys Bowen-Price and Isabelle John, both aged nine, who both played Jemima. They said they were very excited to meet her.
“She said thank you and that our singing was very good,” said Alys.
Executive Board Member for Culture Sport and Tourism Cllr Peter Hughes-Griffiths said: “We are delighted that HRH chose to visit the Lyric Theatre. The youth opera are a prime example of the rich talent we have in Carmarthenshire.”
The Duchess then went on to Carmarthen Market to meet traders and stall holders, including Richardson’s Bakery, who made cakes for Their Royal Highnesses’ wedding reception in 2005.
Paula Richardson said: “I gave her some Welshcake to try, she said it was delicious and very Moorish, I told her they were best with lots of Welsh butter. She told me how much the Prince of Wales loves our fruit cake too.”
Her Royal Highness also sampled some cheese from Danny Oopstall from Teifi Cheese who also invited her to cut some cheese.
Danny said: “She said she loved it, so we made up a special hamper for her with gifts from other stallholders too.”
The Duchess also stopped at the Burns Pet Food shop and chatted with owner John Burns about his reading dog scheme.
“She is very interested in assistance dogs, she also asked me about my pet food and why I came to Wales,” he said.
The market was recently named Best Market in Wales by Slow Food Cymru, an awards scheme that highlights ‘good, clean and fair’ markets, restaurants and independent food producers and traders across the country.
Executive Board Member for Resources Cllr David Jenkins said: “This was an excellent opportunity for us to demonstrate the quality produce on offer at our award-winning market, the stallholders enjoyed chatting to the Duchess and it was a nice surprise for shoppers.”
The visit to Carmarthen coincides with the 50th anniversary of His Royal Highness’s investiture and is part of their annual summer visit to Wales.