London

Camilla sings 'too loudly' at arcade lights switch on

The Duchess of Cornwall and crowds
Image caption The Duchess of Cornwall is patron of the DecAid charity

The Duchess of Cornwall was taken by surprise when a man claiming to be from the council told her to stop singing at a Christmas lights switch-on.

The man told the shocked duchess and up to 500 shoppers gathered in the Burlington Arcade, central London, that they were singing too loudly.

He turned out to be Howard Ellis from the tenor group Incognito who then burst into song.

The evening was to raise money for services charities.

Champagne flutes

A spokeswoman for Clarence House said: "This gentleman came up from Westminster Council and said, 'you're singing too loud, you're making too many decibels - I don't want any more singing'.

"The Duchess's face was a wonderful picture. There was a definite moment and then he burst into this most amazing opera and it was just beautiful."

Camilla, who was recovering from a chesty cough, donated a bottle of champagne and cut-glass champagne flutes from Highgrove to a raffle.

The evening was expected to raise at least £10,000 for DecAid, a national appeal for service charities that helps current and former members of the armed forces who served in Afghanistan and their families.

The duchess is patron of the charity which is run by current and former members of the Exeter University Officer Training Corps, all aged under 25.

She told the crowd: "I'm a very proud patron of DecAid - young people doing their finest.

"What a wonderful example of the youth of this country. If more people followed their example we would be in a better place."

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