Prince Charles checks out kebabs and opens £1bn research centre
- Credit: PA Media
Smiling, waving, meeting and greeting – a buoyant Prince of Wales won hearts and minds on a visit to Cambridge today.
Heir to the throne Charles met college dons, professors, business leaders and even a man selling kebabs on the market.
It was a day that included intense debate with students, the official opening of AstraZeneca's new £1 billion research facility and a visit to Homerton College.
But Charles seemed more relaxed in the outdoors on a visit to Cambridge market.
He chatted to stall holders, peering inquisitively over to see some of the eclectic range of goods on offer, and chatting to shoppers.
Charles shook the hands of some of the hundreds of people who came to see him, from behind barriers which circled the market during his visit.
The prince also joked with the gathered crowds, telling them "are you not meant to be at lectures?"
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On a more serious note, he spoke at Homerton College about his desire to promote greater inclusion and diversity.
These were subjects “close to my heart", and he has tried to support them for "much of my life".
He joined a discussion in the Griffin Bar on Get In Cambridge and other initiatives aimed at encouraging diversity in admissions and supporting ethnic minority students during their time at the university.
Charles, who was met by Homerton’s principal, Lord Woolley, said: "I could not be more pleased to hear about the excellent work being carried out to promote greater inclusion and diversity.
"As Lord Woolley knows, this is a subject which has always been close to my heart, and which I have sought to take forward, and to support, as much as possible much of my life."
He added: "For our society to meet successfully the huge challenges before us, we will need all our talents and all our contributions.
"That is not simply a good intention - it is the most profound good sense.
"I have said before that our diversity is our greatest strength, and I become ever more convinced of that truth as time goes by and as I see fresh examples of that principle - as I do so clearly here today."
The prince held a private meeting with Lord Woolley, who is also an equalities campaigner and the founder of Operation Black Vote.
He became the first black man to lead a college at Cambridge or Oxford after taking up his post last month.
He previously collaborated with the Prince's Trust on addressing disadvantage among ethnic minority groups.
Later, Charles officially opened AstraZeneca's new research facility.
The Discovery Centre, which will accommodate more than 2,200 scientists, is located within the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.
Charles met Pascal Soriot, chief executive of the Anglo-Swedish drugs company, and was taken on a walking tour of the centre and spoke to scientists in a lab.
He was told how the firm has supplied more than two billion doses of its Covid-19 vaccine.
In a courtyard in the centre of the disc-shaped building, the prince said in an address that the centre would save the lives of millions of people in the future, and he praised the dedication of the AstraZeneca team.
"I must say it has been absolutely fascinating to see at least some of the work that takes place inside this centre and to think that - supported by interactions across the city and beyond - it will ultimately enhance and save the lives of untold millions of people around the world in the years and decades to come," Charles said.
"Throughout the pandemic, I have greatly admired the dedicated commitment of Pascal and the entire AstraZeneca team.
"You have developed and delivered a vaccine for the world - in a remarkably short timescale - which will continue to have a positive impact on communities and society for years to come.
"You have demonstrated, together with your partners, the power of collaboration, of agility and, ultimately, of science itself. And, what is more, you have done it all on a not-for-profit basis."