THE Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have enjoyed a day at the races, in aid of the historic home Charles saved for the nation five years ago.
The royal couple were guests of honour for Ladies Day at Ayr Racecourse, which hosted Scotland’s biggest flat-racing meeting.
The fixture, part of the Ayr Gold Cup Festival, raised funds for Dumfries House, a stately home and estate near Cumnock.
First Minister Alex Salmond, himself a keen race-goer, was among the welcoming party that greeted the royals.
The couple – who use the titles the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland – began their visit by unveiling a plaque to mark the formal renaming of the Paddock Stand. It will now be known as the Rothesay Stand in their honour.
The royal guests watched four of the seven races from the comfort of the newly named stand.
Although they did not have any horses running at the meeting, the trainer of the duchess’s horses, Ralph Beckett, did have a number of runners.
Charles and Camilla also presented trophies for the feature race of the afternoon, the William Hill Supporting Dumfries House Ayrshire Handicap Stakes.
Jockey Connor Nichol took his first victory, riding Osteopathic Remedy, owned by Kevin Kirkup.
Mr Salmond said: “Dumfries House is a fantastic cause that the prince has championed. I was there last night and it’s providing great opportunities for young people in employment.
“It’s a magnificent house for visitors, events, weddings and functions. It’s one of the great showcases of Scotland and the fact that it’s here in Ayrshire, I think, is a matter of great local pride. It’s really becoming a major economic force in Ayrshire, therefore it’s a great cause to be supported.”
Racecourse chairman Alan Macdonald said: “It was a great honour to have their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay attend Ayr Racecourse. It was a great occasion and both the duke and duchess took a great interest in the racing and spoke to all of our sponsors.
“The entire day was to raise funds for Dumfries House. We are proud to have been part of that.”
Charles and Camilla also visited Dumfries House while in Ayrshire.
Built between 1754 and 1759, it is set in 2,000 acres and is acknowledged as one of the most architecturally significant stately homes in the UK. It was last inhabited in 1993.
In his capacity as Great Steward of Scotland, Charles headed a consortium of charities and heritage bodies that bought the house and its land in 2007. The purchase stopped the house, contents and estate from being broken up.
It was opened to the public for the first time in 250 years in the summer of 2008.
Around 4,500 guests turned out for yesterday’s racing, which took place in glorious sunshine.
A number of female guests were dressed for Ladies Day, with many hats, high heels and colourful dresses on show.
The duchess wore a grey coat with a Balmoral tartan trim and a tartan scarf. Charles was in a grey suit, blue shirt, and red and blue regimental tie.