The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall chatted and joked with well-wishers in Woodhouse Street today (Tuesday) during a visit to the Yellow Door deli.
The royal couple spent just under an hour in the restaurant where they met local food producers and watched Portadown schoolchildren planting seeds.
Owner Simon Dougan, along with his wife Jilly, had prepared an informal showcase featuring locally produced food and drinks. These included Long Meadow Cider, produced on the Loughgall Road, and Lough Neagh Eels.
A range of canapes had been prepared by head chef Stephen Dowd and staff and the royal couple were also offered some Yellow Door bread, accompanied by the Prince’s favourite Earl Grey tea.
The Yellow Door has often prepared meals for Prince Charles and other members of the royal family during their visits to the province, and owner Simon knew exactly how to prepare Charles’ tea - sweetened with a spoonful of locally produced honey.
Jilly offered Charles and Camilla an insight into her latest initiative ‘Sow Grow Munch’, a free growing and cooking guide specifically designed for schools to introduce children to fresh fruits and vegetables at a young age.
Helped by Portadown Integrated Primary School pupils Leah Jacobs, Matthew McAdam and Cara Magee (all aged 7) and Maya Noakes, a second year pupil at Clounagh JHS, Jilly put on a display of edible herbs, leaves and pea shoots planted by the pupils.
Principal Feargal Magee, who was introduced to the royal couple, said, “Prince Charles asked me what school the pupils were from and when I told him he was very interested and asked if it was successful.”
Other guests included Lord Caledon and the Countess of Caledon and Mr Dougan’s mum and dad, Lorna and Stanley. Mrs Dougan said the Royal couple asked about the family and she told them that eight of her children were working in the Yellow Door business.
At the end of their visit, the couple were presented with a hamper and again spoke with the waiting crowds before leaving for their next engagement at Ulster Carpets.
Among the well-wishers who had gathered in the street to welcome the Royals were Rectory couple Arlene and David McKeown and their great-niece, three-and-a-half-month-old Lilli Perera who was home from Berlin.
Lord Mayor Councillor Darryn Causby said the visit was a great success. “They walked the full length of the street, meeting people,” he said. “It is a tremendous boost for Portadown.”
This was the first royal visit to Portadown town centre since the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret visited in 1952.