They may have been mingling with locals at an Essex bar - but it turned into a royal Norfolk celebration as Prince Charles and Camilla showed their love for our county’s pub culture.

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The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited The Bell in Purleigh, south-east of Chelmsford, to celebrate the pub’s ability to diversify.

During their visit, Prince Charles pulled a pint of Norfolk’s Woodforde’s Wherry for Camilla before the royal couple headed for the dartboard.

There, the duchess played with a set of darts which featured The Canaries crest on its flights.

The couple visited the pub, which dates back to the 14th century, in the prince’s capacity as patron of Pub is the Hub, a not-for-profit organisation which offers advice and support to rural pubs in order for them to provide additional community services.

Life-long Canaries fan Glen Browne, who was born and raised in Norwich and moved to Essex more than 20 years ago, said he was proud to see the Royals play with his beloved Norwich City darts.

The 48-year-old, who is the captain of the Purleigh Bell darts team, said: “The Norwich City flights are always a point of conversation as we have some West Ham and Ipswich Town fans in the league.

“I had put my darts on the board and when Prince Charles came through, he asked if he could have a throw. He asked me what the significance was of the flights and I told him that was my football team, Norwich City.

“It’s terrific for Norwich to get a bit of exposure and it’s given everyone a bit of a giggle; I’ve had friends and family from Norwich texting and contacting me.”

Meanwhile, two of East Anglia’s best known breweries were delighted to see Charles and Camilla try their award-winning ales.

The couple tried Adnams Southwold Bitter and Woodforde’s Wherry.

Rupert Farquharson, the managing director of Woodforde’s Brewery in Woodbastwick, who was at the pub during the royal visit as a representative of the Pub is the Hub team in the east of England, said: “It’s really exciting - there was our pint being enjoyed by the future king of England. Despite the fact we were in Essex, it was very much a Norfolk celebration.”

He added: “I spoke to Prince Charles. He was talking to me about how is the pub trade and business, which is all good, and he came round and pulled a pint. He tried the Wherry which he said was delicious.

“It’s good for him to be supporting maintaining pubs and pubs diversifying.”

Have you got a business story? Email shaun.lowthorpe@archant.co.uk.

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