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Royal newlyweds break off honeymoon to meet pupils.

The Duchess of Cornwall performed the official opening of a children's play park in her first public duty as a royal yesterday.

Camilla and the Prince of Wales were greeted by hundreds of wellwishers as they took time out from their honeymoon to open the play area at Monaltrie Park in Ballater, Aberdeenshire.

The couple, known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, seemed relaxed and at ease as they spoke to local schoolchildren and members of the public who had braved the heavy rain to see the newlyweds.

Charles and his new wife have been honeymooning at Birkhall on the Balmoral estate since their wedding last Saturday.

They were met by sisters Kerry and Gemma Sinclair, who presented Camilla with a bouquet of white roses and freesias, and gave the Prince a card congratulating him on his wedding. The royal couple stopped and chatted with members of local fundraising group the Charitable Chiels, who raised pounds 25,000 towards the pounds 43,000 play park.

They also spoke to some of the children from the local primary school, who rushed into the park to play as the Duchess cut the ribbon.

Charles joked with the youngsters, who were sitting in a swinging basket, asking them: 'How high does it go?'

Charles and Camilla also met local dignitaries, including Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire Angus Farquharson.

They then went on spent ten minutes talking to the crowds, with the Duchess clutching flower bouquets and Charles receiving a sprig of heather.

After meeting the Prince and Duchess, ten-year-old Kerry, who handed Camilla flowers, said: 'I was very nervous and excited, but it was great to meet them both. The Duchess looks lovely and thanked me for the flowers.'

Gemma, aged eight, added: 'Prince Charles asked if we had been to the Ballater Games last year, because it is held in this park.

'We said we had and that we had enjoyed it.

'Meeting them was excellent.'

Another of the youngsters the couple spoke to, Ashley Ellis, aged ten, a primary six pupil at Ballater Primary School, said: 'Camilla asked us if we were going back to do lessons at school this afternoon.

'She said she hated maths at school and that it was her worst subject.'

Another pupil, Rory Beaton, aged ten, said yesterday: 'I had my camera and the Duchess asked me if I could see properly through it to take her photo

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The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall open a new play park yesterday in Ballater, Aberdeenshire. It was the first official duty for the couple
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 15, 2005
Words:433
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