The Prince of Wales pulled a pint behind the bar of his namesake pub as he and the Duchess of Cornwall visited businesses recently reopened after lockdown.
Charles poured himself a glass of Sambrook’s bitter at the Prince of Wales pub in the Old Town area of Clapham in south London and pulled up his face mask to enjoy a sip.
The heir to the throne and Camilla admired the eclectic decorations inside the pub, pointing out a Toby jug of the Duke of Edinburgh, which the landlord did not realise he had among his collection.
Charles said he has always thought it would be fun to visit every Prince of Wales pub in the country and joked about a “free drink”.
The royal couple were happy to go behind the bar, with the prince getting in the spirit of pint-pulling, and saying: “I think that’s probably enough. Would you say keep going?”
He joked that he would not drink it all, and then went for a sip as Camilla watched.
As he looked at the variety of objects hanging around the pub – including traffic lights, an inflatable palm tree and a didgeridoo – he spotted a pair of boots and joked: “What happened to the owner of the boots?”
It was a sunny day for the couple’s visit to the area, and the duchess, who wore a summery multi-snowdrop silk print dress by Fiona Clare, was heard saying it was lovely to be outside.
Pub landlord Dermot Connell said it was exciting to have “the Prince of Wales coming to the Prince of Wales”, adding: “It’s good that he’s getting out and about and showing people it’s now safe again to be in the pubs.”
Talking about Charles going behind the bar and pulling a pint, Mr Connell said: “They thought we might have to push him into doing it but he volunteered.”
On whether he enjoyed his tipple, Mr Connell said: “He seemed to like it.”
Charles and Camilla’s visit to the area, which also included stops at a Michelin-starred restaurant, a theatre, a florist, a barber’s, a pet shop and a fire station, was almost reminiscent of pre-Covid engagements.
The couple’s visits appear to be steadily returning to normal – they also mingled with the public in Northern Ireland last week.
However, signs of the ongoing pandemic were still evident, with everyone wearing masks indoors in Clapham.
Charles and Camilla’s first stop was at the acclaimed Trinity restaurant, where they met staff, as well as representatives from the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts.
Outside the restaurant they chatted with with local suppliers – M Moen & Sons Butchers and Moxon’s Fishmongers.
The butcher had a sizeable display of mutton on show, with Camilla calling it “my husband’s favourite”, and Charles could be heard saying that mutton is “so much better than lamb”.
Inside the restaurant, they met the Trinity front of house staff and chef team.
The couple also met Omnibus Theatre staff before walking down the hill, passing a range of independent shops and businesses.
By the time they ended their walk at Clapham fire station, where they greeted firefighters and thanked them for their service, a crowd of onlookers had gathered, hoping to get a glimpse of the royal visitors.
The couple’s visit was to celebrate the High Street as figures from the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) show that a fifth of independents did not reopen after the first lockdown.
Figures show that footfall is still down 25% on the same pre-pandemic period in April 2019, despite lockdown restrictions being lifted.
A Clarence House spokesperson said: “The high street is the backbone of British life and, as we all begin to return safely to the things we enjoy, TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall were determined to show their support, particularly for Independent shops.
“They are passionate to encourage high quality British produce that can be bought from your local shops or served at your local pub.”