The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay have been given a true taste of the north-east with a tour of some of the region’s most popular tourist destinations.
Crowds lined the streets to welcome Charles and Camilla, who spent the day at scenic spots throughout the seaside town of Stonehaven.
Charles began his day by opening the new Netherley headquarters of engineering firm WM Donald and got in the cab of a Volvo excavator with automatic GPS.
Wullie Grant, 50, from Dyce, Aberdeen, showed him the controls and was impressed with the skills on show.
He said: “He’s obviously done it before because he knew exactly what to do with the controls and he was very gentle.
“We were talking about the machine and how important it is for the industry.
“He was saying he hopes this automatic technology doesn’t completely do away with people like me, and I had to agree.”
Mr Grant, who is originally from Caithness in the far north of Scotland, said they also spoke about Charles’s passion for that region, home to the Queen Mother’s former residence the Castle of Mey.
Charles unveiled a plaque and planted a tree at the site.
Willie Donald, who founded the firm in 1977, said: “We’re delighted he could come and open the office. It’s a big thing for us.
“Probably one of the reasons for the visit is we did a bit of work in Ballater when it got flooded.”
The company donated materials and labour to help clear up and reinstate the Deeside village, near Balmoral estate, following devastating floods in 2015.
Charles and Camilla also got a look round the centuries-old Dunottar Castle.
The ruined medieval fortress is believed to have roots dating back to the Early Middle Ages, while its surviving buildings were largely built in the 15th and 16th Centuries.
It was purchased by the Pearson family in 1925 and its current owner, George Pearson, gave the royal couple a guided tour of its grounds.
The royal couple made frequent stops as they chatted to tourists from all over the world – with many astonished they were visiting at the same time as royalty.
They then made their way to the castle’s drawing room where they signed the guestbook and paused for a cup of tea.
After the tour, Mr Pearson said: “Charles said it was the first time he had come to Dunottar, but it was somewhere he had always heard about and wanted to visit.
“He said the last royal visit was by his great-great-grandparents in 1931, so it was really nice of them to come.”
The Duke and Duchess then paid a brief visit to Stonehaven’s Tolbooth Museum, where they met volunteers who gained a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service earlier this year.
They also viewed the key used by the Queen Mother to officially reopen the building in 1963, when it had been restored after falling into disrepair.
The pair then headed to E Giulianotti, a specialist sweet shop which is celebrating its 120th anniversary.
Owner Marjory Steven talked them through its long history, then served Camilla a sample of home-made chocolate ice-cream, and Charles some organic lemon sorbet.
Crowds greeted the couple as they visited businesses in Stonehaven town centre.
They also visited Charles McHardy Butchers and Graingers Deli.