Royal visitor to award-winning Deeside estate

The Duke of Rothesay has visited an award-winning Deeside country house hotel and estate.

Prince Charles meets members of the Douneside House team
Prince Charles meets members of the Douneside House team

Prince Charles toured Douneside House in Tarland, owned by the not-for-profit MacRobert Trust.

During his visit last Friday, he discovered more about its unique World War 11 history and the work promoting education and training within hospitality and horticulture.

The MacRobert Trust donated £1 million to charity last year and supports a range of programmes to encourage and nurture young talent.

The Prince chats to the estate's horticultural trainees

The Prince was given a tour of the estate by trust CEO, Rear Admiral Chris Hockley.

He met one of the tenant farmers, Stephen Allardyce and his family, and Yvonne Davidson and Lizzie Shepherd, from the Tarland Bee Group, part of the community’s Tarland Development Group, and also learned about the trust’s background.

Mr Hockley said: “The MacRobert family were philanthropists, which is why, following her sons’ deaths, Lady MacRobert set up a charitable trust in their honour.

“Whilst encouraging and educating the talent of tomorrow, we’re proud of our past. It was a privilege to explain this rich and turbulent story to His Royal Highness.”

Prince Charles then visited Douneside House, the former family home of the MacRobert family.

He met members of the Douneside team who are currently undertaking further training and apprenticeships

Business manager Gillian Currie said: “There are a lot of exciting plans underway in the North-east to support, encourage and nurture young people within the hospitality industry. I was delighted to have the opportunity to talk to His Royal Highness about the collaborative work being undertaken by several prominent hotels and restaurants, supported by Opportunity North East and Visit Aberdeenshire, to implement a collective hospitality apprenticeship programme that will be unique to the North-east.”

The Royal visitor was also shown round the grounds by head of gardens Stephen McCallum where he chatted to horticultural trainees.

Douneside has a Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Partner Garden and is an RHS Approved Learning Centre.