Put the pot away: Charles shows up at Glastonbury
Only one royal gaffe as prince goes walkabout among early arrivals
In the biggest shock to festival-goers since rapper Jay-Z upset the indie music purists to give a headline performance in 2008, Prince Charles made a surprise visit to Glastonbury yesterday to mark the Somerset festival's 40th anniversary. If ever proof was needed that the uber-cool counterculture gig has gone mainstream down the years, this was it.
"I can't believe it," Ben Oakley, one of the onsite volunteers, told the Guardian. "If we'd have known, we would have built him a mini Buckingham Palace."
The prince was visiting with his Wateraid hat on: he is president of the charity that is one of the big beneficiaries of the festival's annual fundraising efforts.
After visiting a housing development in neighbouring Pilton, he walked through the crowds of early arrivals already packing the Greenpeace field, before walking out on the Pyramid stage - 24 hours ahead of Gorillaz - to wave to the crowd.
Festival-goers mainly stayed mellow or looked perplexed as the royal personage, dressed in a double-breasted summer-weight suit and tie, moved among them.
Mark Cann, who first went to the festival as a CND activist three decades ago, was asked whether a royal visit seemed out of place. "It is a bit bizarre. But I think his presence here doesn't mean that Glastonbury is establishment," he said. "But it does show how established it is as part of our cultural fabric."
There was only one report of a royal gaffe. In want can only be described as a 'Prince Philip moment', Charles appeared to accuse an Australian of being an illegal immigrant.
"Hello mate, I'm Nick from Australia. I'm working at the festival," said 22-year-old Nick Wardle.
To which the prince replied: "I would never have guessed. I hope you have a permit to work over here."
A female festival-goer told the Sun: "It was hilarious really - the prince looked this bloke up and down and basically accused him of being an illegal immigrant."
The prince brought the good weather with him. Festival-goers more used to mud and rain in recent years can expect temperatures up to 27C over the weekend. ·
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