8 JANUARY 2004
Prince Charles received a rousing reception from a huge crowd of well-wishers when he turned out to open a breast cancer clinic in Hereford. The 55-year-old looked to be thoroughly enjoying the visit, despite the controversy that has engulfed him in recent days.
"Keep your chin up Charles," said 40-year-old Beverly Terry, one of the many royal fans at the event. "It's a difficult time," he responded. "Thank you."
Around 200 people came along to cheer the Prince as he opened the Haven Trust Therapy Centre. It was his first public appearance since a tabloid newspaper published one of Princess Diana's private letters and thereby provoked the latest row to hit the Royal Family.
"Charles acknowledged he was having difficulty but I think he appreciated the support from people here," said one onlooker. "He is a very brave fellow – it took some guts to come."
The Prince of Wales managed to remain upbeat throughout and chatted animatedly with patients and staff. "He was very relaxed, concerned and kind – he made people laugh two or three times," said founder Sara Davenport afterwards.