Royalty and statesmen




Claire, pictured in the garden room at Charles' official residence Clarence House, will make her debut appearance as the royal harpist on Wednesday
Photo: © PA
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Welsh lass Claire becomes Charles' official royal harpist

5 JUNE 2007

A 22-year-old musician from Crymych, Pembrokeshire, has become the third person to take on the role of Official Harpist to the Prince of Wales. Golden girl Claire Jones, who has been playing the harp since the age of ten and has won numerous awards, will make her debut in the role on Wednesday at a black-tie dinner hosted by Prince Charles and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall at Cardiff Castle. She will play the heir-to-the-throne's harp which was given to him in 2006 by the Victor Salvi Foundation in recognition of his promotion of harp playing.

Claire, who is working on her first album, takes over from the current post holder Jemima Phillips who was appointed in July 2004. "I'm absolutely delighted," she says of her new position which she will initially hold for two years. "It's such an honour to have been given this role." The post, for which Claire will be paid £3,000-a-year to perform at royal engagements around the country, is centuries old but lapsed from 1911 until Charles reinstated it seven years ago.

A photograph released to mark her appointment shows Claire in the garden room of Clarence House dressed in a beautiful gown with her blonde hair flowing. "The dress was gorgeous but it was lent to me and I have got no idea who it is by," she said. "But hopefully I will get used used to wearing a few more." It seems she won the job after catching Charles's attention during his visit to the Royal College of Music last month where she is due to start as a postgraduate scholar in September.

"He was very charming and said he was very impressed with my playing," recalls Claire, who is no stranger to performing before royalty having played for his parents the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh when she was just 16. Last year she won the harp solo at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.

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