Page last updated at 14:23 GMT, Friday, 19 February 2010

Prince Charles and Camilla handle Staffordshire Hoard

Prince Charles and Camilla inspect the Staffordshire Hoard gold at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
The royal visit included an inspection of the Staffordshire Hoard

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have viewed the Staffordshire Hoard as part of Stoke-on-Trent's six-town federation centenary celebrations.

They were allowed to handle an Anglo Saxon gold cross and a detailed gold stud with millefiori glass at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

They also visited the 18th Century Bethseda Chapel restoration project.

Their royal city visit culminated with a pottery tour of Emma Bridgewater and Dudson Pottery's workshops.

The six districts that comprise the city of Stoke-on-Trent are Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton.

It is a wonderful glimpse into our ancient past and we are thrilled to give Their Royal Highnesses the chance to see and handle some of these treasures
Councillor Hazel Lyth

Stoke-on-Trent Lord Mayor Jean Bowers said: "This is a wonderful occasion for our city and we are delighted to welcome The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall to Stoke-on-Trent in our 100th year. Their visit is the high point of our centenary celebrations."

Among the 118 items in the hoard collection currently on display are 40 pieces that have not been previously displayed elsewhere, since they were discovered by a metal detecting enthusiast in a field in Staffordshire last summer.

Staffordshire Hoard Anglo-Saxon gold work
Birmingham and Stoke City Councils are fundraising to buy the hoard

Councillor Hazel Lyth, cabinet member for economic development and culture, said: "The Staffordshire Hoard has sparked the imagination of people from across the globe - the amount of treasures and some of the types of items have simply never been seen before.

"It is a wonderful glimpse into our ancient past and we are thrilled to give Their Royal Highnesses the chance to see and handle some of these treasures."

A spokesman for the council said Prince Charles' ancestors date back to Anglo-Saxon times, via Ealhswith, the wife of Alfred the Great.

Eahlswith was the granddaughter of the Mercian king Wigmund and great-granddaughter of Wiglaf, who both lived in the 820s and 830s, he added.

The hoard exhibition runs in Stoke-on-Trent until 7 March and is part of a fundraising campaign to permanently acquire the treasure for the West Midlands.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is working with Birmingham City Council to raise £3.3m to buy the hoard by 17 April.


The royal couple visited Stoke-on-Trent as part of the city's six-town federation centenary celebrations

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