Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Charles cheerful despite badly bloodshot eye while Michael Middleton looks relaxed and dapper ahead of the big day

By Gavin Allen

Relaxed: Kate's father Michael Middleton looks comfortable amid the building excitement as he leaves The Goring
Hotel in London, while Prince Charles was in high spirits despite displaying a badly bloodshot eye

If you were asked which was the Prince and which the commoner on the evidence of today, one could be forgiven for getting their answers reversed.

As Prince William and Kate walked through the latter stages of their wedding plans, including a full rehearsal at Westminster Abbey, their fathers went about their days in their own way.

Kate's father, Michael Middleton, looked suitably dapper as he strolled from the reception at The Goring Hotel in London, where the family will be based for the wedding, this afternoon.

In a dark suit, light blue shirt and red and white tie, Mr Middleton looked relaxed even though he appeared to be surrounded by earpiece-wearing security personnel.

For Prince Charles, who is more used to the hoopla surrounding such big events, the day was spent at his last public engagement before the wedding.

The ever-dutiful heir to the throne did not let a minor personal problem get in the way of his visiting Dumfries House in Ayrshire as it prepares to open for the 2011 season.

Charles was afflicted by a badly bloodshot eye, which is not thought to have been caused by any particular incident, and he will be hoping that it clears up before the cameras of the world are trained on him throughout Friday's ceremonies.

The first in line to the throne was clearly in good spirits during his visit, enjoying a laugh and a joke, and taking the time to chat to a couple planning their 'fairytale' at the stately home.

Charles met Jamie McCann, 27, and Mairi Gilles, 30, who will be the first couple to marry at Dumfries House since it opened to the public in the summer of 2008, after the Prince stepped in to save it with £20million from his charities' money.

On duty: Charles badly bloodshot eye is not thought to be the result of any particular incident and he will be hoping it clears up before the wedding on Friday

Father of the bride: Michael Middleton appears to be accompanied by a security guard (on his left), as he leaves The Goring Hotel

The couple told him about their plans and also touched on preparations for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding on Friday.

Ms Gilles said: "He was very easy to talk to, very gracious.

'He was asking if we had our honeymoon booked and general questions.

'I asked him how the preparations were going for his son's wedding and he said "Very well".

'He said he was looking forward to the wedding.'

He was shown the restoration and conservation work carried out since the end of the last season, including work done to its 'exquisite' collection of Chippendale furniture, and new wedding and conference facilities which have been added.


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