Camilla enjoys fish and chip lunch as Southend achieves city status

The Duchess of Cornwall capped her visit with the Prince of Wales to mark Southend-on-Sea becoming a city by having a seaside staple – fish and chips.

Camilla’s lunch of cod and chips was accompanied with tartar sauce and a wally – the local word for a gherkin – when she stopped for a bite to eat.

Earlier the Prince of Wales spoke about the war in Ukraine, saying the values of democracy were under attack in the country in the “most unconscionable way” during a ceremony to confer city status on Southend-on-Sea.

Charles famously does not eat lunch so the duchess had a private solo meal at Sands By The Sea restaurant where the couple met charity volunteers, faith leaders and health workers at the end of their visit.

Philip Miller, executive chairman of Stockvale which owns and runs the restaurant and Southend’s fun park Adventure Island, said: “The visit was tremendous for Southend. The turnout was brilliant.

“When she came in we offered her cod and chips and she had them in the boardroom. She thoroughly enjoyed them.”

The Duchess of Cornwall meets members of the public during her visit
The Duchess of Cornwall meets members of the public during her visit to Southend-on-Sea (Justin Tallis/PA)

Before arriving at the restaurant, the couple went on a long walkabout along the seafront and Charles was asked about the health of the Queen by Janice Jacom, 64, an admin worker at a local golf course.

She said: “I asked the prince about his mother and he said ‘she’s a lot better now – it was very mild’. It was a bit worrying as the Queen is getting on a bit but I think she’s absolutely wonderful.”

Earlier, on behalf of the Queen, Charles presented Southend with the Letters Patent during a ceremony at the Civic Centre which formally granted it city status following the death of MP Sir David Amess.

Royal visit to Southend-on-Sea
The Prince of Wales, accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall, gives an address in the council chamber at the Civic Centre in Southend-on-Sea, as it formally becomes a city (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Sir David, who had served as Conservative MP for Southend West since 1997, was stabbed to death during a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on October 15 last year.

The 69-year-old had campaigned tirelessly to make Southend a city.

Days after Sir David’s death, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced: “Her Majesty has agreed that Southend will be accorded the city status it so clearly deserves.”

Royal visit to Southend-on-Sea
Charles and Camilla unveil the new eco-friendly Southend-on-Sea Pier Train named after the late MP Sir David Amess during their visit (Justin Tallis/PA)

Charles and Camilla also visited the seafront to unveil a new eco-friendly pier train named after Sir David.

The battery-powered trains will be used to take visitors from the shoreline to the end of Southend Pier, which at 1.33 miles (2.14km) is the longest pleasure pier in the world.

The £3.25 million pier train replacement project is seeing the existing diesel trains, which have been in operation on the pier since 1986, replaced with new, eco-friendly trains, designed in heritage green and cream colours following a public vote.