A college was given the Royal seal of approval following a visit by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

The spotlight was on Writtle College, in Essex, as she toured the college with Lord Petre and a number of civic dignitaries. Specialising in subjects relating to environmental design, equestrianism, agriculture and animal sciences, courses on offer are of interest to The Duchess. HRH is a keen supporter of the arts, enjoys gardening and is well known for her love of horses.

HRH’s visit took her to a Higher Education Animal Science lecture where she met Dr Carlos de Luna, before moving to tour the gardens of the Writtle College estate.

Along the way, The Duchess met Beryl Wyatt MBE, an assistant gardener who has worked at the college for more than 40 years, and further education horticulture students who will be entering the 2012 Ideal Home Show Young Gardeners of the Year competition.

She was also introduced to Postgraduate students from Postharvest, a course which looks at how fresh horticultural produce must be handled, transported and stored to maintain quality from grower to consumer.

Nicola Carroll, a professional floristry foundation degree student spoke to HRH and said: “The Duchess was really nice to talk to and she seemed genuinely interested in finding out about everyone’s specialist area of study.”

Finally, The Duchess visited the recently opened Titchmarsh Centre for Animal Studies, named after and officially opened by college patron, Alan Titchmarsh.
Here, The Duchess met more students and staff, talked with members of the Essex mounted police and toured the animal unit.

Professor Dave Butcher, principal at the college, said: “What a wonderful visitor to have at Writtle College. The Duchess was especially interested in talking to students and I took great pleasure in offering her a tour of the campus.”

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