Royalty and statesmen




Masako looks on with interest as a pupil proudly shows off his invention
Photo: © AFP
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An enthusiastic Naruhito joins Masako in checking out the exhibition
Photo: © AFP

Having visited his wife Camilla in hospital on Monday, where she is recovering from a routine operation, Charles continues his scheduled visits, opening this learning centre the following day
Photo: © AFP

Inventions and ghost stories entertain Masako and Charles

7 MARCH 2007

Creative Japanese school kids not only got to show off their hard work to their mums and dads this week, but to Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako at Tokyo's annual Schoolchildren's Invention Exhibition.

Mother-of-one Masako, who has been struggling with a stress-related condition, looked on with particular interest as pupil Ryoma Noda showed off his accessory for a 'shogi' chess set. The royal couple were also impressed by an electric-powered wheelchair, which won it's young designer the Imperial Prize.

Characteristically elegant in a beige polo-neck jumper and jacket, Masako was clearly enjoying the displays while Naruhito, who celebrated his 47th birthday last Friday, was evidently taken with the imaginative creations as the pupils demonstrated the fruits of their labour.

The Japanese royals were not the only ones on an educational visit. On Tuesday, Prince Charles officially opened the £2.4 million Clore Learning Centre at Hampton Court Palace, which aims to attract more school parties to the historical court complex dating back to the 13th century. Charles met pupils from local schools who were learning about Tudor architecture and history including young Georgia Richards from Reading.

She told the prince how she had felt the ghost of Catherine Howard, one of Henry VIII's beheaded wives, brush past her in the palace's Haunted Gallery. "Well, some people believe they can feel it," he replied. "They are very special people."

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