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Last Updated: Monday, 23 April 2007, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Royal visit marks city's birthday
Prince Charles in robes
Prince Charles compared the modern world to a frog
The Prince of Wales has officially re-opened Liverpool's St George's Hall following its 23m makeover.

Prince Charles, in the city to mark its 800th birthday, described the restored hall as one of the finest examples of neo-classical architecture in Europe.

After the ceremony, the prince was awarded an honorary fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University.

He then delivered an impassioned speech about his concern that modern society had become too remote from nature.

The prince donned blue robes over his blue suit to receive his honorary fellowship in the grand concert room of St George's Hall.

We are maybe like the analogy of the poor frog
Prince Charles

Prince Charles urged the audience to recognise that the modern world needed to change.

He said: "What is worrying, I fear, is that we are fast running out of time to reconnect with that sacred gift.

"We are maybe like the analogy of the poor frog.

"Had he been thrown into a pot of boiling water, he would have jumped straight out again.

"But he was put into a pot of lukewarm water and the heat was only slowly increased so that, without noticing it, he slowly boiled to death."

Prince of Wales and Erroll Graham
The Prince of Wales showed off his watch

Continuing the animal theme, the prince said that man should aim to behave more like bees, which produce honey without destroying the flower from which they take the nectar.

He said: "Contrast this with our convenience-based, throw-away consumerist society, dominated as it is by the increasing demands of individualism - at whatever cost, it often seems, to society or the environment."

Charles later started an hour-long peal of bells and cannon fire to celebrate Liverpool's 800th "birthday" - the anniversary of it receiving royal charter from King John.

During his visit to Toxteth Town Hall, the prince was told about a local campaign to save a street of Victorian houses from the bulldozers as part of a regeneration project.

Charles told the multi-faith Liverpool Community Spirit group he believed the houses were "very solid buildings" which could be restored.

Cathedral service

Resident Sainb Ahmed, 23, said: "Everyone wants to save it. People of all faiths have been living there side by side for 100 years. The authorities want to clear it but the homeowners want to save it."

The prince also met Rastafarian Erroll Graham, 43, who received a 500 Prince's Trust grant in 1977 to build a sound system for his local youth club.

Charles showed Mr Graham his watch, which had been a present from Haile Selassie, the former Ethiopian Emperor who inspired the Rastafarian religious movement.

Later on Monday night, he was due to attend a service at Liverpool Cathedral to mark the city's anniversary.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Prince Charles speaks at St George's Hall.



SEE ALSO
City celebrations get royal boost
10 Apr 07 |  Merseyside
City plans global 800th birthday
14 Jul 06 |  Merseyside
Charles: A modern prince
21 Feb 06 |  UK

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