Prince of Wales visits Aberystwyth University, where he studied as a young man

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The Prince of Wales has visited Aberystwyth University, where he once was a student, to officially open the institute’s new Veterinary Education Centre.

Charles, an alumni of the university located on the west coast of Wales, arrived just after midday on Friday to speak to the first cohort of veterinary students who began their studies in September this year.

He also unveiled a plaque to mark the official opening of the school.

Charles in Wales in 1969
Charles arriving at Aberystwyth University for a nine-week course studying the Welsh language in 1969 (PA)

The centre on the Penglais campus has been opened jointly with the Royal Veterinary College as Wales’ first and only School of Veterinary Science, and funded by £500,000 in donations from alumni.

Those who attend will spend the first two years at Aberystwyth University followed by three years at the Royal Veterinary College’s Hawkshead Campus in Hertfordshire.

They will also have the opportunity study specific areas of veterinary science in the Welsh language.

Prince of Wales
Charles unveils a commemorative plaque to open Aberystwyth University’s new School of Veterinary Science (Jacob King/PA)

Gifts including bara brith tea bread, made by 15-year-old Aberystwyth resident Elin Gore, and pots of honey from bees that live on campus, were presented to him.

During his time in Aberystwyth, Charles learned Welsh, even giving his July 1969 investiture speech in the language.

Prior to the unveiling, Charles said: “I’m very glad indeed to have this opportunity of coming back to Aberystwyth. I have a horrifying feeling it’s 52 years since I was here. But I have very special memories of that time.

The Prince of Wales
Charles talks to students in their first year at university (Jacob King/PA)

“I do hope they will have great success in the future and the school will flourish.”

Vice chancellor Elizabeth Treasure said: “This has been a long time in the planning. Veterinary school this year, and a nursing school next year. Both will be hugely important for Wales.”

The prince went on to open a new exhibition at the Strata Florida, in Mynachlog Fawr, where a former Cistercian monastery and its farm buildings have been preserved.

He then visited Rhayader and went to the family-run Hafod Hardware store to celebrate independent businesses and show support for the local high street.

Charles receives a gift from Arthur Jones, aged four, during a visit to Hafod Hardware store
Charles receives a gift from Arthur Jones, aged four, during a visit to Hafod Hardware store (Jacob King/PA)

Residents lined the streets to greet Charles outside the shop, which is one of the oldest businesses in Rhayader, dating back to 1895.

Inside, he met the Lewis family, including their grandson Tom who helps run the shop, and his wife Laura and their son Arthur, who is now four.

Mrs Lewis said: “What an amazing honour it was to have Prince Charles in our shop. He said it was lovely to come and see an old-fashioned family business still going and passing on from generation to generation.”

Mr Lewis said: “And it’s all because he saw our Christmas video and wanted to come and see the shop.”

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