King Charles celebrates Wrexham’s new city status with Hollywood movie stars

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King Charles and Queen Camilla with Hollywood actors and club owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. Photo credit: Wrexham FC

King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla celebrated Wrexham’s new city status this week.

Their Majesties started the day at Wrexham Association Football Club (AFC), where they met the club owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, alongside players, to learn about the redevelopment of the club.

During the visit, The King and The Queen Consort learn about the redevelopment of the club, which is the third oldest professional team in the world.

The club is now owned by Hollywood actors, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, who are aiming to grow the team the team and return it to the English Football League in front of increased attendances, and in an improved stadium, while making a positive difference to the wider community in Wrexham.

Their Majesties then headed to St Giles’ Church for a celebration to mark Wrexham becoming a city, which it received as part of The late Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee.

The King formally marked the conferral of city status and made a short speech.

There was then the opportunity to view the Church’s treasures including the First Edition King James Bible and a rare early 14th century chalice which is still in use before meeting Church and ecumenical representatives and local community groups.

His Majesty The King then visited National Trust Cymru’s Erddig, 45 years after he first opened Erddig to the public in 1977.

His Majesty planted a rare sapling successfully grafted from the historic Pontfadog Oak, which fell in a storm in 2013.

During the visit His Majesty met with young volunteers who were taking part in Erddig Grow, a project which works with partner organisations to support people’s wellbeing through being in nature.

The ancient Pontfadog Oak, which fell in a storm in 2013, stood at Cilcochwyn Farm, near Chirk and was cared for by generations of the Williams family. It was thought to be one of the world’s largest and oldest oak trees.

His Majesty The King and Hilary McGrady, Director-General of the National Trust, visit Erddig, Wrexham, Wales | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

In 2013, The Crown Estate propagated the original Pontfadog Oak tree and planted a tree in Windsor Great Park. A further five Pontfadog Oaks were then grafted from this tree; three have been gifted to National Trust Cymru, and two are cared for by the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

The sapling was planted in memoriam to honour Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This was His Majesty’s first visit to a place cared for by the National Trust since his accession to the Throne.

During the visit to Erddig, His Majesty and the First Minister were accompanied by Hilary McGrady, Director-General of the National Trust and Lhosa Daly, Director for Wales, National Trust Cymru, and met a number of staff and young volunteers.

Hilary McGrady, Director-General of the National Trust, says:

‘It’s an honour to welcome His Majesty The King back to Erddig, and to welcome the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford.
‘His Majesty has long been a supporter of our work at Erddig, including opening the property to the public in 1977, and a visit to mark its 25th Anniversary in the care of the National Trust in 2002.
‘We’re deeply privileged to have His Majesty, the First Minister, and members of the Williams family with us to plant the Pontfadog Oak sapling to honour Her Late Majesty The Queen. We look forward to caring for the sapling as it grows and provides a space for people to reflect and connect with nature and history.’

Prior to planting the sapling, the group heard about Erddig’s active community work, which focuses on enabling children and young people and increasing access to the National Trust for those who could gain most from it.

The volunteers also invited His Majesty to plant a copper beech tree as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative.

Lhosa Daly, Director for Wales, National Trust Cymru, says:

‘It was a pleasure to see brilliant young volunteers introduced to His Majesty and the First Minister. The work that volunteers and staff do at Erddig to increase access to nature, beauty, and history makes a real difference to so many people’s wellbeing. It goes to the very heart of the National Trust’s charitable purpose.
‘This ethos has long been part of Erddig’s legacy in the Wrexham community; in the 1790s, the Yorke family who cared for Erddig prior to the Trust championed these values and ensured the estate was open for the health and amusement of local people. It’s wonderful to see this legacy continued at Erddig today through projects like Erddig Grow and many others.’

During the visit, His Majesty met the Head Gardener to admire the bountiful display of apples from this year’s harvest. The Erddig estate contains vast orchards of trained fruit trees and is home to over 200 apple varieties. The group also saw the penny farthing His Majesty rode on his first visit to Erddig in 1977.

This December, the outside of the house at Erddig has been transformed into a giant advent calendar, with a new advent window shining out from the mansion house each day. On the day of the visit, the 9th advent window was unveiled, revealing a picture of a Christmas tree drawn by 7-year-old Noah who lives locally.

During the visit, Head Gardener Glyn Smith presented His Majesty with an acorn carved by a volunteer from Erddig oak and a selection of apples from the orchards.

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