Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall step back in time with a horse and carriage ride on the tiny Isle of Sark where cars are banned
21:12 GMT, 20 July 2012
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall stepped back in time today by using a horse and carriage to travel on an island where cars are banned.
The royal couple visited the tiny Channel Island of Sark – population 600 – which is one of the few remaining places in the world which outlaws cars and where tractors, bikes and horses and carriages are used instead.
Charles and Camilla signalled their enjoyment of their short ride by horse and carriage by smiling broadly and patting the horse gently after disembarking.
Joy ride: Prince Charles and Camilla take a trip in a horse-drawn carriage on the Island of Sark, population 600, today
Home, James! The royal two spent a sunny afternoon touring the tiny island, which bans cars
Neigh-ce to meet you! Camilla befriends a horse called Toby at Le Seigneurie on the Island of Sark
Camilla, wearing an Anna Valentine outfit of white pleated skirt and sand-coloured jacket, said: 'You are a well-behaved horse.'
Charles added: 'You work very hard, don’t you'
The carriage, driven by islander Rossford de Carteret, was pulled by an Irish cob called Toby.
Mr de Carteret said: 'It’s an honour to have them on board. I’ve carried all the Royal Family, including the Queen three times, who come to the island since I’ve been doing it for 50-odd years.
'The last royal I had on board was the Princess Royal about five years ago.'
The traditional mode of transport ferried them to La Seigneurie Gardens, reputed to be one of the finest formal walled gardens in the Channel Islands.
Dating back to the 19th Century, they include a circular rose garden, a Victorian glasshouse, flower beds, a vegetable garden and a hedge maze.
Earlier this morning, Charles and Camilla flew into picturesque Sark by helicopter from Guernsey for the final day of a three-day visit to the Channel Islands.
Royal wave: Prince Charles greets locals as he arrives on the car-free island
Blooming good show! The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles Prince of Wales visit Le Seigneurie Gardens as part of their Diamond Jubilee visit to the Channel Islands
Up to 200 people greeted the couple, including schoolchildren from the 37-pupil Sark School and local civic leaders, before they unveiled a plaque at the Island Hall.
Schoolchildren Tia Lalor, 12, and nine-year-old Yasmin Williams presented Charles and Camilla with a box of chocolates and a posy of flowers before meeting members of the British Legion lined up outside the hall.
Two mugs featuring Charles and Camilla in their hunting gear were presented to them by Puffin Taylour who organises sheep racing contests on Sark.
Ms Taylour said: 'I’m delighted that they were able to take the mugs. I’m really surprised that I was able to get in line to give them to them.'
Considered the fourth smallest of the Channel Islands, Sark is not only distinguished by its ban on cars but its international reputation among star-gazers.
The isle, which has no public street lighting and no paved roads, was awarded the International Dark-Sky Association recognition for its exceptional quality of unpolluted darkness, and became the world’s first Dark Sky island.
Island visitor Barbara Higginbottom, from Buxton, Derbyshire, said: 'I love seeing Charles and Camilla here. It’s marvellous and it’s good for the island because it gets the crowds out.'
All pictures courtesy of Claire Cisotti
Royalist: A lady going by the name of Puffin shows off a mug she presented to Charles and Camilla – and reveals what appears to be a sapphire ring, just like the Duchess of Cambridge's engagement ring
My namesake Prince Charles, Prince of Wales meets a dog called Charlie on his Sark tour