The 69-year-old prince was full of praise for Durham Cathedral’s £10m Open Treasure exhibition where the priceless St Cuthbert’s Pectoral Cross is on view.
The bejewelled artefact was thought to have been buried with Cuthbert in the 7th Century and laid untouched for 1,200 years until it was found hidden in his robes in 1827.
Charles walked through the 14th Century Monks’ Dormitory, beamed with 21 oaks, and which would once have accommodated 40 monks.
He praised the cathedral authorities, sponsors and fundraisers for their efforts in preserving their “great treasures”.
There was laughter as he spoke of their hard work “maintaining a cathedral and stopping the bits falling off it, which, as I reach an increasing age…”
Earlier, he was given a card for Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle by pupils from The Chorister School, which featured a flower made from the children’s thumb-prints.
Before a concert in Durham Cathedral, the prince joined around 300 people inside in marking the tragic death of student Olivia Burt, who died in an incident outside a nightclub last week.
The flag of University College, where the 20-year-old Fresher was a member, was flown at half mast.
The concert featured the works of Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, thought to be one of Charles’s favourite composers.
The world-renowned baritone, Sir Thomas Allen, who is also university chancellor, performed along with musicians and singers from the university.
Hundreds of people lined the streets in the cold, bright conditions to see the prince.
Helen Bell, from Bishop Auckland, who has special needs, even gave him a hug after waiting in the large crowds on the Palace Green.
She said: “I have always watched him on the telly and I just felt overwhelmed.”
The prince met emergency service workers including a Mountain Rescue team in Barnard Castle.
He was then due to visit the Bowes Museum where the late Queen Mother was a long-standing patron.
Listen to Premier’s Ian Britton speaking with Very Rev Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham here:
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The Prince of Wales joked he was like a 900-year-old cathedral with “bits falling off it” as he toured a new exhibition of its splendours.
Written by: Miriam Emenike
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