President of Ireland Michael D Higgins visits Prince of Wales at Dumfries House

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The President of Ireland has joined the Prince of Wales in celebrating 10 years since the royal helped secure the future of an 18th-century stately home.

Michael D Higgins and the First Lady were greeted by the Prince on the steps of Dumfries House in East Ayrshire on Wednesday.

Celebrations are being held to mark a decade since the house was opened to the public after being saved for the nation by the Prince.

The Prince of Wales, known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, with the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina in the Yellow Room at Dumfries House in East Ayrshire (Andrew Milligan/PA)
The Prince of Wales, known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, with the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina in the Yellow Room at Dumfries House in East Ayrshire (Andrew Milligan/PA)

On entering the stately home, the President and Mrs Sabina Higgins were shown the Grand Orrery, a mechanical model of the solar system built around 1758.

It does not include Neptune, Uranus or Pluto, as they had not yet been discovered.

Mrs Higgins spoke with Charles about how she and the President had seen a similar model in Florence, Italy.

The Prince of Wales,  President of Ireland and his wife Sabina view the Grand Orrery, an 18th century mechanical model of the solar system (Andrew Milligan/PA)
The Prince of Wales, President of Ireland and his wife Sabina view the Grand Orrery, an 18th century mechanical model of the solar system (Andrew Milligan/PA)

During their visit, the guests heard about the significance of building on the talents of young people from under-privileged backgrounds as part of the Dumfries House project.

The President and First Lady were also to have private meetings with the Prince and Duchess of Cornwall, before attending a live broadcast recital at a concert celebrating 20 years of Classic FM.

A world premiere of Twilight Falls on Temple View, written by Welsh composer Paul Mealor about Dumfries House, was also being performed on the night.

The Prince made the invitation to the President in May, when Mr Higgins hosted the royal couple for meetings at his official residence in Dublin.

Each year around 24,000 people visit the 2000-acre Dumfries House estate, which employs about 150 staff and provides a series of amenities to the local community.

These include skills training, educational programmes, woodland walkways, a playground and an outdoor swimming pool.

HRH welcomes @PresidentIRL to Dumfries House to celebrate its 10th year and to see how it helps the local community. #TRHinScotlandpic.twitter.com/cByTAQwsFG

-- Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) September 6, 2017

In 2007, Charles used £20 million of his charitable foundation's money and personally brokered a £45 million deal to secure the house and its collection of Chippendale furniture.

It had previously been in private hands, becoming run-down as owners struggled with upkeep costs.