Fourteen years ago, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla walked down the aisle together. The couple celebrated their anniversary on Tuesday by taking an unexpected visit to Northern Ireland, where Charles helped to re-open Hillsborough Castle. The castle is very special to the royal family, as it is the queen’s official residence when she visits the city, according to Telegraph.
Hillsborough Castle was previously under construction for five years as it endured a $22 million makeover involving over 700 contractors. Renovations included refurbishing the state rooms, restoring the gardens, and launching the new Clore Learning Center. The learning center will be available as an educational tool to classes of young schoolchildren as well as families.
Charles gave a touching speech about the Georgian mansion, which dates back to the 18th century, during his visit. The royal even mentioned his special day with his wife!
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m enormously grateful to you all for coming such a long way to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It’s incredibly good of you,” he joked.
On a more serious note, the 70-year-old royal continued on to say that he is “incredibly pleased” to have reach the end of the long construction process.
“There has been, as you can imagine, a long journey to get to this point, but I could not be more pleased that we have finally reached the finishing line!” Charles added. “It was five years ago, in April 2014, that Historic Royal Palaces assumed responsibility for the castle and gardens at Hillsborough – one of those places that many have heard of and yet few had ever visited.”
Charles said that he hopes the re-imagined castle will help visitors to better understand the island’s history, Hello! reported.
“As we look to the future therefore, I hope Hillsborough Castle and Gardens can now well and truly be placed on the map and serve as both a destination and indeed an inspiration for all on the island of Ireland to enjoy!” the Duke of Cornwall concluded.
Photos from the outing show Charles, wearing a dapper blue suit and a patterned tie, touring the grounds alongside the Duchess of Cornwall, who wore a long buttoned green coat. The couple also unveiled a brand new plaque and toured the brand new visitor facilities.
Hillsborough Castle will be open to the public starting April 18.
Following the royal couple’s visit, the official Hillsborough Castle Twitter wished them well on their 14th wedding anniversary, according to Town & Country.
Charles and Camilla, 71, married on April 9, 2005, in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall.