Vintage buy for Duchess on charity shop visit

WITH access to the top designers of the fashion world, the Duchess of Rothesay can shop anywhere she pleases.

But during a visit to Edinburgh yesterday it was a 1950s ballgown made of deep purple lace and selling for just 55 at Barnardo's Vintage boutique in the Grassmarket that caught her eye.

The Duchess gasped: "Oh my God, that's wonderful. Absolutely fantastic. What size is it?", before saying she would buy it for her daughter Laura.

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Staff at the specialist vintage charity shop, the first of its kind in the UK, took the dress and petticoat off its stand and popped them in plastic bags for their royal customer.

Later the Duchess was to join the Prince of Wales in hosting a reception for newly elected members of the Scottish Parliament.

Last night's event at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh saw the royal couple meet the parliament's new presiding officer, Tricia Marwick, and her deputies, alongside the party leaders, before mingling with around 130 guests.

Prince Charles, also known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland, was accompanied by Ms Marwick, while Camilla was accompanied by her deputies, Elaine Smith and John Scott.

First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond, Labour leader Iain Gray, Conservative leader Annabel Goldie and Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie lined up to greet the royal visitors, before the couple joined MSPs and their partners for drinks and canaps in the Throne Room of the palace.

Speaking before the event, Ms Marwick said: "It's very kind of their royal highnesses to meet with MSPs who were elected only last month.

"We have many new MSPs, so this is the first time they have experienced this reception at the palace."