Charles to visit flood-hit communities of South Wales

The Prince of Wales has arrived in South Wales, where he will visit residents and businesses affected by flooding caused by Storm Dennis.

Charles is due to meet people in the town of Pontypridd, where homes and businesses have been flooded.

His first engagement in the country saw him test drive Aston Martin’s new luxury SUV at the car maker’s factory in St Athan, near Barry.

The Prince of Wales with his Aston Martin DB6 as he arrives for a visit to the Aston Martin Lagonda factory in Barry (Rebecca Naden/PA).
The Prince of Wales with his Aston Martin DB6 as he arrives for a visit to the Aston Martin Lagonda factory in Barry (Rebecca Naden/PA)

The heir to the throne arrived at the Aston Martin Lagonda plant in his DB6 Mark 2 Volante, which he purchased in November 1970.

The vehicle was converted to run on E85 bioethanol made from by-products of the wine and cheese industries in 2008.

After arriving, Charles got into the driver’s seat of a red DBX – costing from £158,000 – and took it for a 15-minute test drive on the Aston Martin site.

In a speech to staff, he said: “It is a particular pleasure to be able to visit an Aston Martin factory like this having been a very devoted member of the Aston Martin drivers’ club for the last 50 years or more.

The prince makes a during a visit to the Aston Martin Lagonda factory (Rebecca Naden/PA).
The prince during a visit to the Aston Martin Lagonda factory (Rebecca Naden/PA).

“The wonderful thing was I was able to drive my very old car here in my very old way and to be able to get in and out of it still – just.

“What was fascinating was to see this new SUV version, the DBX, and to have had a chance to drive it around.

“I must say it is a great tribute to all your team work and expertise and extraordinary engineering skill which has put this remarkable car together.

“I just wanted to say that I am full of admiration for the fact that this is Welsh engineering and skill on a very high level.”

Before making his speech, Charles placed the Aston Martin wings on the front of a brand new DBX.

He joked that it was wonky, telling staff: “I knew I’d get it wrong.”

The prince said he had “probably made a terrible bosh” of the wings, adding that he would attempt to unveil a commemorative plaque “without causing a problem”.

Charles drove the DBX with Ian Hartley, senior manager for vehicle dynamics, who praised his handling of the car.

“He is a good driver – cautious,” Mr Hartley said.

“Having owned Aston Martins, he knows that they are powerful and to be careful when needed. He really enjoyed the car. We went up a very steep crest.

“He was impressed by the amount of technology of the car and asked about where were we are going with electrification.”

Mr Hartley said Charles was also taken with the seats, which are made with Scottish leather.

During the visit, the prince met engineers working on different stages of the production process, including seat installation and the paint shop.

Earlier, Charles had visited British Airways’ engineering base in Cardiff where he was given a tour of a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner plane.

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