Through his charity, Prince Charles has likely answered the prayers of thousands. But on Wednesday, the 69-year-old got a prayer of his own during his tour of Wales.
Luke Ripley, 26 — who has faced a series of personal setbacks and is learning rural skills through a project run by the Prince’s Trust and the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales — told Charles his trust is making a difference.
Ripley turned to the mountains around them and said a prayer, thanking God for “guiding” Charles.
Visibly touched, the prince said, “That’s very kind. Well done, fantastic!”
Charles set up the Prince’s Trust in 1976. Since then, it has supported more than 825,000 young people in the U.K.
Ripley came from “a very hard background,” and said his participation in the program has given him direction.
“I had to leave my family to give myself a better chance,” he said. “This has helped me. It’s moving me forward. I’m getting tired from a full day and getting a good sleep.”
He praised Charles’ service and how he used his own money for the trust. “He had been through hard times and he has learned you have to give people a chance and they will do good,” Ripley said.
Alongside him, Jake Herriott, 25, had been part of a team learning how to create a “bug hotel” to nurture wildlife in the woodlands of the vast park. He wants to become a trainee warden in the park. ”
He was asking if I wanted to continue working in an outdoors environment — and I said it’s better than being stuck inside. He said he preferred it outside too,” says Herriott. “I’ve always had a few issues with self-confidence and already this has helped me with that. By being out here, I’m getting out of my comfort zone.”
At a brief reception, Charles said, “The fact that the Prince’s Trust can be a part of this in the personal development and in producing what I can only describe as oven-ready apprentices is very important.”
Charles was in the Brecon Beacons on day three of his annual Wales week that has already seen him attend the re-naming of a bridge in his honor, and take part in the summer festivities in a tiny riverside village with wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
While they had a packed schedule, Camilla and the prince stole a few moments to themselves and shared a sweet loving look during the festivities.
Earlier Wednesday, the royal couple indulged in some rural chatter with craftspeople and businesses — and watched a show put on by a Young Farmers’ group.
Camilla, 70, sampled some Farmers’ Hand Cream made by local lavender distillers. “She said it was lovely and smelled wonderful — and that she would smell it throughout the day,” says Welsh Lavender’s Nancy Durham.
At a neighboring stand, Pam Price, 71, explained how she created crafts like pencil case holders, soft pan stands and teapot covers from old blankets.
After a stressful job as a care manager in the National Health Service, she wanted something to “keep her marbles going” and get her out meeting people too, she said. “I thought she was lovely,” says Price. “They have obviously got a good relationship and we should respect that – whatever the past is really.”
Their first stop had been to see the Heart of Wales railway line, which is marking its 150th birthday. Before boarding the train, Charles took controls of a model train that was on display and recalled his own set, based on a model of island of Gibraltar, that had tunnels for trains to run through.