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Gaelic serenade for Charles and Camilla on Scottish island visit

·3 min read

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have been serenaded with a Gaelic song during a visit to Skye.

The royal couple, known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, were visiting the island for the first time since 2009.

They toured the island capital Portree on Thursday, where they heard a performance by renowned Gaelic singer Robert Robertson, the frontman for folk-rock band Tide Lines, in front of the backdrop of Ben Tianavaig.

Royal visit to Isle of Skye
Robert Robertson talks to the royal visitors (William Urquhart/PA)

A gold medallist at premier Gaelic cultural event the Royal National Mod, he sang two songs in the language.

He said: “It wasn’t nerve-wracking, the duke and duchess have a really down-to-earth way about them. And because they have attended the Royal National Mod, they have a real interest in that, and in Gaelic.

“It just felt like a really nice conversation, and it was a real pleasure.”

The Lochaber man added: “One of the songs actually describes looking over from the Western Isles to Skye and seeing the Cuillin Hills and the mist. I thought that would be a good story to tell.”

Royal visit to Isle of Skye
The couple sampled some local fish and chips (William Urquhart/PA)

After the performance, Charles and Camilla enjoyed fish suppers at the harbour from Portree fisherman Dan Corrgiall’s shop.

They were greeted by Lord-Lieutenant Joanie Whiteford at the start of their visit and given a guided tour of the town as they gained an insight into the how the community is moving forward from the pandemic.

The visit began at Skyeskyns, where the duke and duchess were shown around the only remaining commercial woolskin tanner in Scotland and presented with a sheepskin gift by the firm’s founding director Lydia Hartwell.

Their next stop was design shop OR, where they were met by owner Jen Pearson, her husband Andy Tait and their 10-week-old baby Laurie.

Royal visit to Isle of Skye
They were piped into the main square in town (William Urquhart/PA)

Ms Pearson, whose business benefited from a Prince’s Trust loan, thanked the duke for the support. The royal couple received a vase made from sand from Talisker beach on the island and a pair of coralline earrings.

Ms Pearson said: “They were both very nice and relaxed, and asked how the business had been doing, Charles was asking about the different designers we worked with and joked that he might have a job getting the duchess out of the shop.”

Charles and Camilla were piped into Portree’s Somerled Square by the Drum Major of the Isle of Skye Pipe Band, Peter MacDonald, and young award-winning piper Archie MacLean as they greeted a crowd of wellwishers from Scotland, the UK and further afield.

Further stops included The Isle of Skye Soap Company, where owner Fiona Meiklejohn presented a gift of two soap boxes, and the Isle of Skye Distillers gin school, where Charles sampled some raspberry gin and spoke to co-owners and brothers Alistair and Thomas Wilson.

They ended their visit at the pier where they spoke with local councillors and first responders who played a vital role during the pandemic, before chatting to members of Portree RNLI crew, who have responded to 90 callouts this year.

Charles and Camilla
Charles and Camilla at Dunvegan Castle (Dunvegan Castle/PA)

The royal couple then headed to the north west of the island for a meeting with the chief of clan MacLeod at Dunvegan Castle, the clan’s ancestral home for 800 years.

The visitors were shown improvements to the historic site since Hugh MacLeod assumed management of the MacLeod Estate in 2008.

He said: “It was a great pleasure to welcome their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay, to Dunvegan Castle and Gardens, and to have an opportunity to show them the fruits of all the hard work the estate staff and our dedicated team of external contractors have put in over the last 13 years.”

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