King Charles shared a joke with a veteran who admired his RAF tie during his visit to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in Lincoln today.
The monarch, 74, was taken on a tour of RAF Coningsby and even sat down for an afternoon tea to mark the 80th anniversary of the Dambusters raids.
For the engagement, the newly crowned King wore a beige suit and his official RAF red-and-navy striped tie – which caught the eye of one of the veterans he spoke with during the visit.
While sitting down for some tea and cake, a retired member of the RAF said: ‘I see you have an aircraft tie on.’
In response, King Charles joked: ‘Tact is my middle name!’
King Charles III appeared to be in high spirits as he enjoyed an afternoon tea with veterans on a visit of the Battle of Britain memorial
After arriving at the RAF base, King Charles was greeted by station commander Group Captain Billy Cooper.
He looked around a Lancaster bomber, as well as Spitfires and Hurricanes Squadron Leader Mark Sugden, after sitting down to talk to veterans and current RAF crew who fly the 80-year-old planes to commemorate the valour of the wartime generation.
‘Thank God for all these men,’ Charles said. ‘People like you who looked after us.’
The 74-year-old monarch recalled struggling to fly a Shackleton bomber when he was younger and spoke to Bomber Command veterans about their experiences of flying missions over enemy territory.
‘Being shot at all the time,’ he said. ‘The horror of it.’
Among the veterans were several bomber pilots and crew who flew countless missions over Germany in a campaign credited with seriously damaging the Nazi war machine despite subsequent controversy over the cost in civilian lives.
During the engagement, Charles met 102-year-old Frank Tolley, who was so horrified by the German air raids on Coventry that he joined the Bomber Command.
The King was also introduced to 101-year-old Dr James Burt – who joined the RAF after graduating from St Andrews and is one of the oldest WWII medics.
The royal, 74, met with World War Two veterans as he visited the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (B.B.M.F) to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Operation Chastise
The monarch spoke with Seb Davey while enjoying a trip to the Lincolnshire site during today’s engagement
The King posed for a photograph with staff and World War Two veterans during today’s visit and afternoon tea
Pictured: World War Two veteran Rust Waugham holds up a picture of the Lancaster bomber he flew
King Charles autographed Rust Waugham’s picture as he today spoke with veterans at the afternoon tea
King Charles pictured stepping out of one of the planes on display in the historic RAF base in Lincoln
King Charles, 74, made his first visit to Lincolnshire today since his Coronation this past May
King Charles signs the visitors book during a visit to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in Coningsby, Lincolnshire
Charles pictured with veteran Burt Hammond (right) during a visit to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
Charles looked to be in awe as he was shown around and enjoyed an afternoon tea with veterans
Charles pictured chatting with a veteran as he enjoyed an afternoon tea in Lincolnshire earlier today
For the engagement, the newly crowned King Charles wore a beige suit with a red-and-navy striped tie
The monarch appeared in high spirits as he was taken on a tour of RAF Coningsby on his first visit to Lincolnshire since the Coronation
Pictured: King Charles shakes hands with veterans at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire this afternoon
King Charles took a closer look at the airplanes on display with Squadron Leader Mark Sugden today
After arriving at the RAF base, King Charles was greeted by station commander Group Captain Billy Cooper
On May 16, 1943, 19 Lancaster bomber crews gathered at the remote RAF station in Lincolnshire, which saw scientist Barnes Wallis’ bouncing bombs deployed to blow up the Mohne and Eder dams in the Ruhr industrial heartlands.
53 members of the RAF were killed during the two-night raid – which has become one of the most famous missions of WWII.
An estimated 1,600 civilians – 600 Germans and 1,000 mainly Soviet slave labourers – drowned in the flooding.
But the Germans had to divert men from the Atlantic wall to repair the damage, weakening their defences after D-Day.
The last of those who took part in the raid, Squadron Leader Johnny Johnson, died in December but there were plenty of other veterans there today to defend Bomber Command’s wider role.
Flight Lieutenant Colin Bell, who made the King laugh when he told him he was 102 and a half and not to forget the half, flew on 50 raids as a pilot in Mosquito bombers, including 13 over Berlin.
He recalled having German fighters on his tail and insisted that he and his comrades had performed a vital role in the war effort.
‘We are criticised by people who would never have come into existence if we had lost the war,’ he said. ‘The objective of Bomber Command was to destroy the German capability of attacking us.
‘We weren’t interested in killing Germans. We were only interested in damaging the cities and the armaments and weapons that were to be used by the Germans.
‘By and large, Bomber Command did a pretty good job.’
The King also met 100-year-old George Pritchard, a pilot in the RAF’s Photographic Reconnaissance Unit who went on to develop the cardiac pacemaker in a career in medical electronics after the war.
‘We had the highest rate of attrition in the war. A lot of my comrades were murdered in France, shot as spies on Hitler’s orders, after being shot down,’ he said.
Before he left a posed for a picture with the memorial flight staff and the veterans and went out to speak to modern Typhoon crews who took part in the Trooping the Colour flypast last month and created a CRIII motif for the King in the skies over Buckingham Palace.
King Charles was all smiles as he arrived at Ulceby Grange Farm in the Lincolnshire Wolds this afternoon
King Charles pictured speaking with farmer Simon Jones as he arrived for the tour of the environmentally-friendly business
King Charles pictured watching the cheese miling process with great interest from a window at the dairy farm
Earlier in the day, King Charles appeared in high spirits as he visited Ulceby Grange Farm in Lincolnshire.
The monarch beamed as he happily shook hands with staff working at the business in the Lincolnshire Wolds.
The family-run farm has been producing Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese since 1918.
To begin with, Charles spoke with Simon Jones – who runs the company with his brother Tim – before the two men ventured inside.
During his visit, Charles learned about the business’ pioneering environmentally-friendly practices – which is a cause close to the monarch’s heart.
In recent years, the Lincolnshire farm has installed a 275kwh wind turbine and 50kwh of solar panels.
They also use a straw pellet boiler for heating their milk, which is a more eco-friendly process and saved the company from using 20,000 litres of oil every year.
On top of this, the farm also feeds their cows with crops grown on their farm in an effort to be more sustainable.
The King pictured viewing the farm’s stash of Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese, which takes 18 months to develop
Tim and Simon Jones seen taking King Charles of a tour of the farm in Lincolnshire this afternoon
The brothers’ cheese is stocked in over 100 farm shops around the country and they also have experience making butter
The Lincolnshire farm has been run by the Jones family since 1918 and is now in its fourth generation
Lincolnshire Poacher uses unpasteurised cow’s milk and is generally left for 18 months to develop a tangy and sweet flavour.
All the milk produced on the farm, apart from a small quantity bottled and sold at Farmers Markets, is turned into Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese.
King Charles has spoken passionately about the importance of protecting the environment for the past 50 years.
In 2020, the King admitted that people thought he was ‘dotty’ when he began speaking about the importance of protecting the environment to the Countryside Steering Committee for Wales.
At the age of 21, Charles delivered his first impassioned speech about his personal concern over oil pollution and single-use plastic.
He also told how, as a teenager in the 1960s, he was concerned about the destruction of trees, wetlands and habitats as well as ‘the white heat of progress and technology to the exclusion of nature and our surroundings’.
In his 1970 address, Charles highlighted a problem that has become an illustration of humanity’s threat to nature.
Then he had said: ‘When you think that each person produces roughly 2lb of rubbish per day and there are 55 million of us on this island using non-returnable bottles and indestructible plastic containers, it is not difficult to imagine the mountains of refuse that we shall have to deal with somehow.’
King Charles pictured speaking with members of staff at Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese farm in Ulceby
King Charles wore a purple flower on his lapel and a red-and-navy striped tie for his engagement today
For the engagement, the newly crowned King, 74, wore a beige suit with a red-and-navy striped tie
Charles greeted as he arrives for his visit to the Ulceby Grange Farm in the Lincolnshire Wolds, where the Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese is produced
King Charles, 74, appeared in high spirits as he entered the farm shop in Lincolnshire this afternoon
What’s more, Prince William is also following in his father’s footsteps with his Earthshot Prize initiative – which he launched in 2020.
Founded by Prince William and The Royal Foundation, The Earthshot Prize is a global environmental prize to discover and develop ground-breaking solutions to solve the climate crisis.
Five winners each year over the next decade will be given £1 million each in prize money, as well as specialised mentoring, to accelerate their ambitions.
The Prize recognises Finalists and Winners across five challenges, or ‘Earthshots’: Protect and Restore Nature, Clean our Air, Revive our Oceans, Build a Waste-free World, and Fix our Climate.