Queen Consort joined by her rescue dogs on visit to Lacock
The Queen Consort was greeted by her beloved rescue dogs as she visited the picturesque Wiltshire village of Lacock.
Camilla arrived at St Cyriac’s Church to see Beth and Bluebell, her Jack Russell terriers, waiting outside along with well-wishers and local residents on Wednesday.
She first visited the church, which has been a centre of Christian worship since at least the late 12th century and has 900 parishioners.
It is close to her home, Ray Mill House, in nearby Reybridge, and hosted the wedding of her daughter Laura in May 2006.
After entering the church, Camilla said: “It is such a lovely place to be, really lovely.”
She walked outside and planted a hawthorn as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy, which was created to mark the Platinum Jubilee in 2022.
The hawthorn tree was planted along with a holly tree and a crab apple tree, as part of the initiative and the church’s own work to create a more natural and biodiverse churchyard.
Referring to the hole for the sapling, Camilla said to onlookers: “I’m very glad I didn’t have to dig this up.”
She then walked from the church to shops in the village accompanied by Hilary McGrady, director-general for the National Trust.
They first visited Oliv, a shop founded during the coronavirus lockdown in 2020 by local residents Oliver Thomas and Olivia Spickernel.
After admiring the hand-poured soy wax candles, melts and reed diffusers, Camila told the owners: “I shall be back again. I shall come back and do a bit of shopping.”
She also visited the National Trust shop, which is housed in a historic terraced cottage, stopping on the way to chat to local residents – many joined by their dogs.
Children from Lacock Primary School and Wise Owls Pre-School – some wearing paper crowns they had decorated – gathered outside to wave flags and cheer as she passed.
Camilla’s final stop in Lacock was at the village shop, Post Office and deli, which has been run by Sam Thomas and Ellie Crosby for the past two years.
Ms Crosby described the royal visit to the village, which is at its quietest in terms of tourists in January, as a boost for businesses and residents.
“It is nice for the village, it is nice for the independent businesses,” she said.
“This time of year is the quietest time and so anything that puts the spotlight on the village is good.”
Speaking after the visit, Sarah Rose Troughton, the Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire, described it as a “very special occasion”.
“She knows the village, she seems to know quite a lot of people in the village, and she knew quite a lot of dogs in the village too,” Mrs Troughton said.
“There were almost as many dogs as people here today.”
The National Trust’s Ms McGrady added that it was “really lovely” to have Camilla in Lacock.
“It felt like a celebratory event,” she said.
“She is local to the area so she knows and really values Lacock. We talked about the history and heritage of it.
“People here were so pleased to see her. She had a great chat with lots of them. It felt like a very friendly, familiar event.”
The National Trust cares for Lacock Abbey – the biggest visitor attraction in the village – as well as owning a number of residential houses and commercial businesses there.
Ms McGrady added that Camilla’s dogs had been pleased to spot their owner carrying out engagements in the village.
“We did have a funny moment when she said ‘Those dogs are very noisy – oh, they are mine’,” she said.
“The dogs were obviously excited to see her.”
Before arriving in Lacock, Camilla visited the newly-opened Royal Osteoporosis Society offices in Bath, where she met staff, volunteers and the helpline team.
She also attended a reception for the society, which is the country’s largest charity dedicated to bone health, at the city’s Guildhall.
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