The Prince of Wales to Visit Warwickshire and the West Midlands

The Prince of Wales during a visit to Fishlake, in South Yorkshire, which was hit by floods earlier this year.


Tuesday 18th February 2020

Engagement 1

The Prince of Wales, President, will visit the Costume Workshop of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford-upon-Avon. His Royal Highness will see the construction works which are taking place as part of a major redevelopment and restoration project, as well as tour the RSC Costume Store.

His Royal Highness will arrive at the Waterside entrance to the Costume Workshop construction site to view the on-going redevelopment and learn about the conservation work taking place. The Prince will then visit The Other Place where the RSC’s Costume Store is housed, and which includes over 40,000 costume items which have been used in RSC productions. On display will be costumes and props, and The Prince will meet with some of the craftspeople who create them. His Royal Highness will move to The Other Place Studio Theatre to view a short performance from The Boy in the Dress, the RSC’s current family show, before meeting staff and RSC supporters during a reception.

The RSC, a registered charity, has the largest in-house costume-making department of any British theatre. Alongside its own armoury, the workshop includes many specialist skills and crafts including men’s and women’s costume-making, millinery, dyeing and printing. The team creates hundreds of costumes each year, which are seen by audiences across the world. The costumes are housed in the RSC’s Costume Store including items from past RSC productions which are now available for hire.

The Costume Workshop is located opposite the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, hidden behind the Grade II listed 1887 former scene dock which was constructed for the original Shakespeare Memorial Theatre. Costume making on the site dates to this time, with the current workshop being here since the 1950s. The close proximity to the theatre is essential as the workshop also includes facilities for fitting and maintenance of costumes during the life of a show. The Costume Workshop is currently undergoing a major redevelopment and restoration to secure the future of costume-making in Shakespeare’s hometown.

The redevelopment will:

  • create the best facilities for costume-making;
  • care for the heritage Grade II listed buildings;
  • provide training and apprenticeship opportunities;
  • open the workshop to visitors for the first time.

The project is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and The Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, with additional support from the Garfield Weston Foundation, Lydia and Manfred Gorvy, The Foyle Foundation, and other generous supporters. More than 30,000 people supported Stitch In Time, the RSC’s public fundraising campaign to raise £3m towards the project which launched in September 2017 and reached its target in Summer 2019.

The Boy in the Dress is currently playing in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon until 8 March 2020. From the novel by David Walliams, adapted by Mark Ravenhill, music and lyrics by Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers, directed by Gregory Doran.

Engagement 2 

The Prince of Wales will officially open the National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC) and see the latest innovations in electric and autonomous vehicle technology.

His Royal Highness will first meet senior representatives from the partners involved in the NAIC, before meeting family members of the late Professor Lord Bhattacharyya who came up with the concept for the NAIC.

The Prince will then visit the Engineering Hall where he will see the latest sustainable future mobility projects from Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors and Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), at the University of Warwick. These include WMG student electric racing vehicle projects; Tata Motors’ latest electric and autonomous vehicles alongside Jaguar Land Rover’s latest prototype self-driving Jaguar I-PACE.

In Jaguar Land Rover’s Design Studio, His Royal Highness will see the reveal and demonstration of one of the company’s latest advanced research concept vehicles which has been developed as the next stage of the company’s Destination Zero mission: an ambition to make societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner.

The Prince will also have the opportunity to meet students, apprentices and employees in the main Atrium before some short speeches. Before departing, His Royal Highness will unveil a plaque to mark the official opening of the centre.

The National Automotive Innovation Centre, at the University of Warwick, is one of Europe’s largest automotive research and development facilities. The £150m centre is a partnership project by Jaguar Land Rover, Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), Tata Motors and the University of Warwick with funding from the UK Government’s Research Partnership Investment Fund, through Research England. The concept for the NAIC was brought to life by the late Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, founder of WMG, an academic department at the University of Warwick.

Bringing together the brightest minds from industry and academia, the NAIC is a beacon for future mobility and sustainability research and development. It will create new vehicles and personal mobility solutions as well as deliver the skills required to keep the UK globally competitive.

Advanced researchers, engineers and designers based at the centre are tackling society’s largest mobility challenges and collectively shaping the future of the global automotive industry from the heart of the United Kingdom.

The 33,000m² centre includes cutting-edge workshops, laboratories, virtual engineering suites and advanced powertrain facilities.

The partners working together in NAIC are engineering the future and helping supply the next generation of engineers, designers and researchers. At NAIC, students and apprentices work alongside experts and leaders in their fields. Through a range of education programmes, apprenticeships and lifelong learning, all three partners are developing curriculums which support the emerging technologies and mobility solutions.

Engagement 3

The Prince of Wales, Patron, The Almshouse Association, will visit the Nicholas Chamberlaine Almshouses in Bedworth.

His Royal Highness will arrive in the town square of Bedworth and walk to the nearby Nicholas Chamberlaine Almshouses courtyard. The Prince will meet one of the residents in their home before meeting trustees and other residents in the Main Hall and Resident’s Lounge. His Royal Highness will sign the visitors’ book and plant a tree in the gardens to mark the visit.

Nicholas Chamberlaine was a 17th century rector of Bedworth and is still remembered as a generous benefactor. In 1715 he left money in his will that paid for almshouses to be built. The building fell into disrepair, however, and in the 1830s the trustees bought a new site – the current site that was then on the edge of the village.

The building that stands today dates from this time, although much of the architecture adopts an older style. Thanks to his generosity and the hard work of current trustees, the almshouses and a number of schools continue to benefit from the charity he established.

In the 1980s the almshouses nearly came to an end, with the fabric of the buildings deteriorating, funding issues and few people in residence. But a campaign managed to get the buildings listed and a programme of restoration began. The final resident’s flat to be restored was completed in 2003.

Today, the trust continues to be on the public register of social landlords and looks after residents in 27 sheltered housing apartments in the almshouses.

In July 1934 Edward, The Prince of Wales visited the almshouses and planted an oak tree that still thrives today. The Almshouse Association Vice Patron, HRH The Duke of Gloucester, visited in 1988 and HRH The Duke of Kent visited in 2016.

The Almshouse Association is the membership body for almshouse charities throughout the UK. There are 1,700 almshouse charities across the UK providing homes for 35,000 residents making them collectively one of the largest specialist providers of low-cost community housing. Despite the large numbers housed, 80% of almshouse charities provide less than 20 homes.

The Prince of Wales has been Patron of The Almshouse Association since 1992. His Royal Highness’ last visit to an almshouse was in November 2018 to The Thomas Parsons’ Charity almshouses in Ely, Cambridgeshire.

Engagement 4

To be confirmed

Catch up on The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall’s most recent engagements, in the latest issue of Royal Life magazine.

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