Prince Charles learns Swansea "etiquette" on tour of city market
PRINCE Charles knows all about royal protocol, and he learned about Swansea "etiquette" on his tour of the city's market.
Stopping to chat to Anne Sillick, of Gorseinon, His Royal Highness pointed out that Cardiff had a Victorian market.
Mrs Sillick replied: "You can't mention Cardiff, because you are in Swansea."
The prince broke into laughter and carried on winding his way through the packed market.
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He appeared to be surprised by its size and quizzed many stall holders about their wares, at one point sharing his penchant for sheep's cheese with Paul Oliver, who runs cheese and continental meat stall Goodies.
Mr Oliver described sheep's cheese as light, creamy and rich, but added that Welsh ones were very few and far between.
"He also asked me how many organic cheeses I had, and how long I had been here," added Mr Oliver.
The prince also showed a keen interest in licensed game dealer Adrian Coakley- Greene, who runs a fishmongers of the same name.
Mr Coakley-Greene said that game was very popular at this time of year, and then explained how long it took to set up the fish counter — containing spider crabs and lobsters among others — each day.
"We get in about 5.15am," he said. "We have to lay a bed of ice and then split the pallet with the fish in. It takes about four and a half hours."
Fiona James, who runs AJ Meats, told the visiting royalty how she processes all the meat at her small-holding near Carmarthen, and makes her own faggots, rissoles and pies.
"I also told him about our barra brith, which he had at his wedding, and then wished him a very merry Christmas," she said.
Security guards must have been tearing their hair out at times as the scrum inched forward.
Husband and wife Keith and Shirley Matthews, of Penclawdd, attracted the royal ear with a rendition of 'Granddad we love you, granddad we do'.
Mrs Matthews said: "He asked how he deserved that, as he hadn't done anything!
"I said you are going to enjoy being a grandfather — he said it was nice to meet us and said have a nice Christmas."
Fellow shopper Barbara Wilkinson, of Penlan, also took up the grandfather theme, congratulating the prince on the happy tidings.
"I also welcomed him to the best market in the world, and told him to go and get some cockles and laverbread," she said.
Prince Charles prompted some chuckles when he peered at a row of slippers at Swansea Footwear, and asked if they were all from China.
Manager Christina Rowlands explained that some of them were, but that the moccasins came from the West Country.
"He also asked if it was a family-run business, which it is," she added.
The prince was guided round the market by the Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan, Mr D Byron Lewis, with Lord Mayor of Swansea, councillor Dennis James, among the welcoming committee.
Swansea Market dates back to 1830 on Oxford Street. A replacement one was built in 1897, and by the 1920s it had some 670 stalls.
During the Second World War, the market was devastated by German bombs.
Judging by yesterday's crowds, it is now in good health, and the Prince was presented with a hamper of market goodies before taking leave.