Prince Charles visits flood-hit town in South Wales

The Prince of Wales jokes with a resident in Pontypridd. (Press Association)

Prince Charles has visited towns affected by flooding in South Wales as the prime minister comes under fire for not making the same trips.

The Duke of Cornwall met residents and visited businesses affected by flooding after Storm Dennis.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been critical of Boris Johnson’s failure to go to areas in South Wales hit by the adverse weather, and has said the emergency committee Cobra should have been set up.

The prince’s meetings in Pontypridd were added to his list of engagements, including one he drove himself to.

The visit was added to his diary of events in South Wales. (Press Association)

Charles drove to the Aston Martin factory in Barry, turning up in his DB6, which was a present for his 21st birthday from the Queen.

The vehicle was converted to run on E85 bioethanol made from by-products of the wine and cheese industries in 2008.

At the factory, he test drove the carmaker’s new luxury SUV - a DBX.

The Prince of Wales was given his DB6 for his 21st birthday. (Press Association)

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In a short speech to the workers, he said: “The wonderful thing was I was able to drive my very old car here in my very old way and to be able to get in and out of it still – just.

“What was fascinating was to see this new SUV version, the DBX, and to have had a chance to drive it around.

“I must say it is a great tribute to all your team work and expertise and extraordinary engineering skill which has put this remarkable car together.

“I just wanted to say that I am full of admiration for the fact that this is Welsh engineering and skill on a very high level.”

The Prince of Wales after driving the Aston Martin DBX. (Press Association)

Ian Hartley, senior manager for vehicle dynamics, sat in the DBX while Charles test drove it and said: “He is a good driver – cautious.

“Having owned Aston Martins, he knows that they are powerful and to be careful when needed. He really enjoyed the car. We went up a very steep crest.

“He was impressed by the amount of technology of the car and asked about where were we are going with electrification.”

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The Prince of Wales onboard a train being constructed in Newport. (Press Association)
The Prince of Wales sitting in the drivers seat of a train being constructed. (Press Association)

Charles had a packed diary of events for a Friday afternoon in South Wales, also visiting the CAF train factory in Newport and the British Airways Maintenance Centre in Cardiff.

He officially opened the factory, unveiling a plaque, after sitting in the driver’s seat of a new train which was being constructed.

The model train presented to the Prince of Wales during his visit to the CAF train factory. (Press Association)

At British Airways, he was shown the company’s plans to improve their green credentials, including duvets made from recycled plastic bottles in first-class, short-haul seats being replaced with lighter versions to improve fuel consumption and bamboo drinks stirrers instead of plastic ones.

The prince opened the engineering base in 1993, and the facility currently employs 550 local people.

Charles visited a Marie Curie hospice in Penarth, where he signed a daffodil petal as part of their appeal and was given a large yellow hat by two of the fundraisers.

The prince didn’t seem keen to don it though.

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The Prince of Wales is presented with a Marie Curie yellow hat by community fundraiser Hannah Leckie and Hilary James (right). (Press Association)
The Prince of Wales meeting patient Maureen Russell, 97, at the hospice. (Press Association)

He also sat with Maureen Russell, 97, appearing to share a joke with her while he held her hand.

Ending his day in Pontypridd, Charles shook hands with first responders, as well as residents, and popped into a cafe called The Prince’s.

It’s estimated that about 1,100 properties, residential and commercial, have been affected in the Rhondda Cynon Taf area.

Emma Jamal, 40, who owns KooKoo Madame, a boutique shop which was under four feet of water on Sunday morning.

“Literally every piece of furniture, every piece of stock, has gone in the skip,” she said.

“Hundreds of thousands of pounds. It is gone. It has taken us years and years to build up the stock.”

The Prince of Wales meeting first responders. (Press Association)
The Prince of Wales makes a furry friend on the tour. (Press Association)
Charles visited a cafe called The Prince's. (Press Association)

Charles took Ms Jamal’s details to see what might be done to help her after she showed him the water mark, of how high the waters had come and empathised over the fear other residents felt.

Richard Oliver, 43, whose home was flooded in the early hours of Sunday, said: “He asked us how we were coping, if we had a cooker and if the toilet was working.

“We’ve lost the carpet but it’s the area around our house that has been really damaged.

“It is a bit of a war-zone up there at the moment.”

Pontypridd was one of the worst hit areas in South Wales where the situation was said to be “life-threatening” and the Met Office issued a red alert due to heavy rainfall and flooding risk.

There is an estimated £30 million of damage to infrastructure in the county.

Mr Corbyn visited Rhydyfelin after the floods, and said: “People have told me about the photos they’ve lost, the furniture that has been damaged and things they’ve saved up for and that very few people have any insurance cover at all because they can’t get insurance cover because they’re in the flood risk area.

“And that is an area of national policy that’s got to be looked at.”