Princess Beatrice joins youngsters to plant trees on rare solo public engagement

Making a rare solo public appearance the Princess helped primary school pupils plant saplings at a conservation project near St Albans
 Photo: © Rex

Despite her university studies and training for her record-breaking marathon run keeping her busy, Princess Beatrice found time for a rare solo public engagement on Monday.

The 21-year-old nature lover joined schoolchildren in Heartwood Forest, Hertfordshire, to highlight a local conservation project.

After taking a stroll through the woods, guest of honour Beatrice got stuck in planting saplings with the pupils from Highfields Primary School in Enfield.

"It's so interesting to see the children exploring the forest and being around nature just like we should be," said the Princess.

"I have planted my hazel tree. When will I ever get to come to a forest on a Monday and plant a tree? It's great."

And as Beatrice was busy finding her feet as a young royal, her uncle Prince Charles was enjoying a taste of local life in the Czech Republic.

On a nine-day visit to eastern Europe, the 61-year-old heir was rather taken back when he tried a glass of the strong local "slivovice" plum brandy on an outing to a village.

Perhaps the experience brought back memories of the time when, as an underaged teenager in 1963, he caused a media storm by ordering a glass of cherry brandy in a bar while on a school trip.

Accompanying him on the tour, which also took in Hungary and Poland, was the Duchess of Cornwall, who had been forced to pull out of several earlier engagements because of severe back pain.

Thankfully in Prague she had managed to recover enough to make friends with animals and staff at a guide dog training centre on Monday.