King Charles suffers fashion faux pas
The thrifty King has long eschewed fashion trends, preferring instead to don well-worn favourites that have stood the test of time.
But while he is determined to be seen as a frugal monarch, royal aides might be advised that His Majesty needs a new pair of socks.
The King revealed what appeared to be a hole in his sock during a visit to a historic mosque on Brick Lane, east London, on Wednesday.
The small hole in the black sock on his right foot was visible as he took off his shoes to adhere to custom.
The King and Queen were greeted by huge crowds as they made their way down Brick Lane, the symbolic face of London’s Bangladeshi community.
More than a thousand well-wishers lined the route as the couple followed a group of dancers scattering flower petals in their path.
During an occasionally chaotic visit, the King planted a tree and was given a box of jalebi and Bengali samosas by a local restaurant, promising to try some later.
Any hopes of quenching his thirst were dashed, however, when after being offered a cup of tea in the crowded Graam Bangla Restaurant the monarch only got as far as putting sugar in the cup before it was whisked away on the advice of his police protection officers for fear that it was about to get spilt.
The King was praised for his willingness to listen to multicultural Britain.
Ayesha Qureshi, co-founder of British Bangladeshi Power and Inspiration and one of the King’s hosts for the visit, said she asked him to visit Brick Lane when he met representatives of Britain’s South Asian community in Edinburgh.
She said they had faced “extraordinary levels of racism and violence” in the 1970s which had culminated in the murder of Altab Ali, a young Bangladeshi man murdered in 1978 by three teenage boys as he walked home from work. The King honoured his memory by planting a tree in the local park which was renamed the Altab Ali park in 1998.
Ms Qureshi, 44, a lawyer, said the royal visit showed “how engaged His Majesty is… with multiculturalism and the anti-racism movement”.
She added: “There is racism within British society. But what this demonstrates is the fact that the King is very attuned to the communities of this country, and wants to reign in a way which is inclusive and supportive of those communities. The fact that he has come here today is very demonstrative of the fact that he listens to people’s concerns, and that he supports and understands.”
After the tree planting, the royal couple were driven the short distance to Brick Lane where Camilla was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Ayah Hussain, three.
The only note of dissent came from a white man waving a black flag and a card with the legend “No [heart] for a nation.” He said it meant “no love for a nation”. Asked who he represented, he said: “I represent people who did not vote for him.”
Also in the crowd was Leo Epstein, 90, who runs a fabric shop and said: “I’ve been here for 66 years. We are the last Jewish traders in this Bengali area.”
The King noticed his wrist splints, the result of an accident in which Mr Epstein broke both his wrists, and asked how he was doing.
“Not too well,” replied Epstein. He said the King replied: “I know the feeling!”
Later, Charles paid a visit to the University of East London to mark its 125th anniversary.
After greeting staff, the King shook hands with the students who had lined the entrance.
One man shouted a friendly “Please bring Harry back”. When the King, who did not hear the remark, asked him to repeat it, the man smiled and clarified: “Harry, your son.”
Charles appeared to say “Oh” and smiled before moving on to greet other students.
The King chatted to three mothers and their infants who had agreed to wear head caps fitted with electrodes to measure brain function, stress levels and heart rates. He also visited a virtual hospital building where trainee medics practise their skills on life-like mannequins which can blink, talk and even respond to questions.
Finally, the King was shown various sustainability projects and was given a gilet made from a fabric found in plants grown in regenerated water wetlands.
He was also given a silk scarf for the Queen, which he said he was sure she would like.