The Duchess of Cornwall apologised for apparently bringing a summer deluge to a picturesque town after the heatwave broke in Cornwall.
While thermometers were rising to record levels in the South East, parts of the West Country experienced thunderstorms which cleared the air and briefly brought temperatures down.
As Camilla and the Prince of Wales arrived in Launceston, the historic county town of Cornwall, the grey clouds which had threatened rain unleashed a downpour.
Mayor Leighton Penhale was the first dignitary in line to meet the royal visitors and joked with the duchess, telling her “I think you’ve brought the rain with you”, to which she replied “Sorry about that”.
Camilla carried a parasol against the burning sun on Monday, when the couple’s three-day tour of the West Country began, but she exchanged it for a see-through umbrella on Tuesday.
Charles had been ignoring the rain but, after a few minutes, he was handed an umbrella by an aide as he and the duchess went on a walkabout before touring craft and market stalls in the town centre.
The Met Office said UK temperatures have hit a record high with Charlwood in Surrey reaching a provisional 39.1C (102.4F) – beating the previous national record of 38.7C (101.7F) set in Cambridge in July 2019.
During their visit, the couple met Diane Landman who, with her husband, has sponsored three Ukrainian women and their children to come to the UK in the past few months to live with them.
Some of the refugees, waving a large Ukrainian flag, joined her in the town square to greet the couple and received a soaking for their efforts.
Mrs Landman, from Launceston, said: “I would be here anyway, but they wanted to come, they have such respect for the British royal family who have let it be known they support the Ukrainian cause.
“This has been the best thing I’ve done all year and we’re getting as much by sponsoring as they are by being here.”
The duchess appeared in an ITV documentary last week which followed her guest editorship of the latest edition of Country Life, and local Golda Heywood bellowed out “Camilla, good on you girl!”
She said afterwards: “I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the documentary. Camilla told me to buy the magazine but I said I’d taped the documentary.”
The town square was packed with well-wishers despite the heavy rain, and the royal visitors stopped at the stall where Tracy and David Ledger were selling honey from their business Kings Orchard Produce.
Mrs Ledger said: “Camilla said she was a hands-on beekeeper and that her bees were doing quite well and she had only lost one colony over the winter.”
Before leaving, the couple watched the world premiere of the Launceston dance parade performed by local children, and unveiled a plaque marking their visit, removing the black and white Cornish flag that covered it.
Later on Tuesday, Charles helped mark the 10th anniversary of Innovative Farmers – a network developing and piloting sustainable farming practices, founded by charity the Soil Association, of which he is a patron.
The prince met farmers who are using “herbal leys” to ensure they have nutrient-rich pastures all year round.
The practice sees producers sow fields with a mix of different grasses, clovers and wildflowers rather than just one species, which stabilises the soil and helps it to retain water.
Elsewhere, Charles met people developing satellite technology to manage grazing land, and farmers breeding parasite-resistant sheep to reduce reliance on chemical wormers.
In an impromptu speech, the prince said: “I have always felt that nature herself has so many of the answers.
“If we read the book of nature carefully, we discover she has created this astonishing, miraculous, waste-free circularity, and that is what I hope we can all build on.”
He added: “Technology can’t provide all the answers, but the combination of the two – the precision technologies and these extraordinary lessons we learn from nature – can be hugely beneficial and very powerful.”