The Earl of Wessex greeted crowds of families in Pelsall as he officially opened a £4 million health, library and children’s centre.
Prince Edward was welcomed with three cheers as he arrived to open the new village centre in the High Street.
He was given a tour of the site, which features a library, pharmacy and children’s centre, along with offices and treatment rooms.
The new library, which replaced the previous one in Norton Road, opened its doors in March and proved an instant hit, attracting more than 800 visitors on the first day.
Prince Edward took the time to speak to residents including two-year-old Ava Venables and her six-month old sister Libby during his 40-minute visit yesterday.
Also in the crowd was great-grandmother Brenda Hill, aged 69, who has lived in Pelsall all her life. She told Prince Edward that she met his mother the Queen in 1963 when she visited Walsall.
Mrs Hill said: “He was very charming and I came here today with my daughter and great-granddaughter to welcome him to Pelsall.”
As he greeted the crowds he spoke to Christine and Ian Rhydderch, who help stage the annual Pelsall Carnival.
Mrs Rhydderch said: “It was very nice for him to come over and greet us. He asked whether we all lived in the village and used the centre. The centre is great for Pelsall and is something that we use.”
Inside the centre the Earl met pupils from Pelsall Village School, Ryders Hayes School and St Michael’s School. The children were given a quiz to complete using search engines on the library computers.
Pelsall Village School pupils Nadhrah Abdullah-Edwards and Reannon Potts, both 10, showed the prince a video of his marriage to Sophie which they had to find as part of the quiz.
Nadhrah said: “He said the wedding felt like a very long time ago but it was really nice to speak to him. He was very nice to us.”
Walsall Council leader Mike Bird said: “This centre is great for the people of Pelsall and it is something for us all to be proud of. It’s second to none.
“In times of financial difficulty it is a model for the rest of the country to follow, bringing several major parts of the community together under one roof, increasing accessibility and lowering overheads.”