The Prince of Wales casts a critical eye over the work of Sonia Brewin (left) at the drawing school he founded five years ago
Photo: © EMPICS
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Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall view sketches by Pippa Ridley (centre)
Photo: © EMPICS

25 NOVEMBER 2005

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Keen artist Prince Charles was eager to swap techniques with fellow painters at an art school reception on Thursday. The heir to the throne looked at ease as he chatted, drink in hand, with the students at the East London drawing school he founded five years ago. By his side was the Duchess of Cornwall in a fashionable scarlet Alice Temperley skirt, which is one of her favourites.

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It was quite a family gathering, as the royal couple were joined by Camilla's children - son Tom Parker Bowles and Sara, his wife of two months, as well as daughter Laura who attended with fiancé Harry Lopes. Also at the reception were Charles' cousins Lord Linley and his sister Lady Sarah Chatto, who is herself an artist and has exhibited her work.

Well-known for his watercolours, the Prince is never without his paints on tours abroad. Most recently he took time out from official duties in America to spend an afternoon capturing local scenes on paper. He's been an avid artist since his schooldays at Gordonstoun where he was encouraged to develop his skills by an art master.

So he was able to cast a knowledgeable eye over the portraits, nudes and sketches on display, much to the delight of students. "We spent quite a few minutes discussing my work," said 30-year-old Sonia Brewin. "He seemed very keen to know how I was doing on my course and how my work was getting on."

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