The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visited the Â£ 60million refurbishment of a theater in London’s West End and then visited Royal Parks staff to thank them for their hard work in maintaining the public spirit during the pandemic.
Charles and Camilla toured the renovated Theater Royal Drury Lane with owner Andrew Lloyd Webber, his wife Madeline and Simon Thurley, chairman of the Lloyd Webber Theater Restoration Project.
The theater now has the largest stage in London, two inches taller than the London Coliseum, and can accommodate two double-decker buses.
While visiting the auditorium, Charles asked when Frozen – the stage adaptation of the hit Disney film – might open.
Referring to the continued setbacks from the Covid-19 pandemic, Lord Lloyd-Webber joked “probably 2040” to which Charles joked: “This is what we call ‘putting on ice’.”
The couple had a brief afternoon tea on the balcony before unveiling a plaque commemorating the opening.
Later that afternoon, Charles, boss of The Royal Parks, and Camilla met with staff from the Hyde Park Charity to pay tribute to them for taking care of London’s green spaces.
Camilla also sampled an ice cream 99 from the charity’s ice cream van, with Charles encouraging her to “stick” to the treat.
The couple spoke to gardeners, apprentices, cleaning staff, waste pickers, volunteers and mounted police, whose efforts helped provide an escape for people during the lockdown.
Park staff said it had been a “difficult but rewarding” time, and added that it was nice to receive appreciation for their work.
Hyde Park has a ‘super’ nursery that houses the 450,000 bedding plants and shrubs needed for flower shows in the eight Royal Parks, including the gardens outside Buckingham Palace.
Hyde Park Nursery Manager Mike Jones, who moved from the Midlands 29 years ago to work there, said he had seen the nursery expand to now grow 1,000 varieties of flowers using technology peak.
Asked about the responsibility of caring for so many plants, Mr Jones said: âI have become there. There are some very stressful times but we have a great team.
âIt’s a great feeling to know that you are contributing to people’s mental well-being and their stress levels. “
The Royal Parks charity, launched by Charles in 2017, welcomes 77 million visitors a year to its 5,000 acres of historic park across London, including Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St James’s Park, Green Park, Regent’s Park, Greenwich Park, Richmond Park and Bushy Park.
The Managing Director of The Royal Parks, Andrew Scattergood, said: âIt’s an incredibly special day, but for me it’s bigger than the Royal Parks, I think they try to say thank you to the parks and gardens from the United Kingdom.
“This year, with all that we have been through, the importance of green spaces and access to nature is extremely important, but what shows you today is how many people are working to make this happen. . “
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