Prince of Wales starts tour of Yorkshire

Prince Charles at NRM
Image caption Prince Charles stood on the footplate of the record-breaking locomotive Mallard during his visit
Prince Charles at NRM
Image caption The Prince of Wales stopped to speak to crowds of well-wishers
Prince Charles at NRM
Image caption The Prince visited a number of exhibits while at the National Railway Museum, including several Royal Carriages
Prince Charles at York Minster
Image caption Prince Charles met the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, outside York Minster
Prince Charles at York Minster
Image caption At York Minster, the Prince met craftspeople who had recently worked to restore the historic building's Undercroft

The Prince of Wales has visited the National Railway Museum (NRM) in York as he awaited news of the birth of his first grandchild.

Before the Prince's visit got under way it emerged the Duchess of Cambridge had been admitted to hospital in the early stages of labour.

During Prince Charles's visit, he saw the record-breaking Mallard loco and the NRM's royal carriage collection.

Later, the Prince visited York Minster before travelling to West Yorkshire.

Fastest steam train

The Prince arrived at the NRM by steam train as he began a two-day visit to Yorkshire.

He stepped off the Royal Carriage through clouds of steam to applause and cheers from the crowd.

Image caption The Prince of Wales visited the NRM to mark the 75th anniversary of the Mallard's speed record

The carriage was pulled into the museum by Bittern, the sister engine of the Doncaster-built Mallard, which marked 75 years as the world's fastest steam train earlier in July.

As the Prince alighted, he spoke to well-wishers who had turned out to welcome him.

Sam Dalby, a pupil at St Wilfrid's RC Primary School in York, said: "I asked him, 'Do you like trains?' and he said he'd liked them since he was a boy."

Prince Charles also met retired Mallard driver Bernard Bell who once transported the Queen when he was working as a fireman on another locomotive.

'Proud and excited'

Mr Bell, from York, who drove Mallard, Bittern and similar engines, said: "He was very interested in the locomotives and he asked me all sorts of questions about my driving.

"It's the first time I've met him and he seemed very nice."

The Prince of Wales also looked round the NRM's collection of royal carriages, including Queen Victoria's favourite carriage, King Edward's saloon and Queen Elizabeth's saloon, used by the Royal Family during World War II.

Following his visit to the NRM, Prince Charles visited York Minster to meet the Archbishop of York and to view the newly-restored Undercroft and meet apprentices and craftspeople who worked on the restoration.

The Dean of York, the Very Reverend Vivienne Faull, said: "We're proud and excited that he's come today - but especially today because, in the life of his family, this is going to be such an important day."

Image caption Prince Charles' final engagement of the day was a reception at Harewood House

As the Prince left the workshops he was greeted by crowds shouting "congratulations".

Later, while visiting the Dovecote Park food processing plant near Pontefract, West Yorkshire, the Prince joked about becoming a grandparent for the first time.

He said: "I'm very grateful indeed for the kind wishes for my rather slowly-approaching grandfatherhood."

The plant's technical director Peter Boyes said he talked to the Prince about sustainability and animal welfare in farming - subjects he said Prince Charles was keen to discuss.

Later, the Price arrived at Harewood House, near Leeds, for a reception for Prince's Trust supporters.

The visit to the NRM was the first event of a tour of Yorkshire by the Prince, who will be joined by the Duchess of Cornwall on Tuesday.

The couple are expected to visit Burton Fleming in East Yorkshire which was hit by flooding at Christmas.

They will also visit Bridlington and Withernsea before visiting Bridlington Priory to mark its 900th anniversary.

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