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Last Updated: Monday, 2 May, 2005, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Royal meeting for Grand Slam team
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at the Grand Slam Party

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have met Wales' Grand Slam- winning rugby team at the official celebration of the historic victory.

Around 20,000 fans gathered at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

It was the first Welsh Grand Slam for 27 years, and the crowd was able to relive key moments in the games in between singers entertaining the crowd,

The royal couple, on their first engagement in Wales since their wedding, presented the Six Nations cup.

He just asked me how I got through the Six Nations without any injuries, that sort of thing
Wales player Brent Cockbain

The prince and duchess chatted to the players, the under 21 side - which also won its Grand Slam - as well as officials and politicians.

The couple spoke to captain Michael Owen, second row Brent Cockbain, whose charity in memory of his baby son was benefiting from the event, and star player Gavin Henson.

Henson, who was without girlfriend singer Charlotte Church, refused to reveal what was said in his royal interview.

But Cockbain said after meeting the prince: "He just asked me how I got through the Six Nations without any injuries, that sort of thing."

There was some embarrassment later when some of the crowd appeared to boo when the royal couple's presence was announced on the stadium loudspeaker.

But a few minutes later there were loud cheers and a cries of "Wales, Wales", when the newlyweds joined the players on the pitch to present the RBS Six Nations trophy.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall with the winning Wales squad
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall with the Wales squad

The Welsh Rugby Union had initially considered holding an open-top bus tour through Cardiff as a way of saying thank you to fans.

In the end, the stadium was chosen as the venue to mark the team's victories over England, Italy, France, Scotland and Ireland.

Around 20,000 fans watched highlights of the games on the Millennium Stadium screens and on a giant screen in the centre of the pitch.

As the two-hour party got under way on Monday, Gavin Henson said: "It's great there have been so many people who have turned up. It's great to meet up with the boys again to reminisce on what we achieved."

Money raised

West End performer Peter Karrie and singers Aled Jones and Wyn Evans entertained the crowd between rugby highlights.

Max Boyce performed a new song, called The Perfect Day, in tribute to the Grand Slam winning match against Ireland, before the squad was presented with the trophy by Charles and Camilla.

The event raised around 50,000, which will be donated to the Toby Lloyd Cockbain Foundation, which was set up after the death last year of the one-year-old son of player Brent Cockbain, and to the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust.

Money raised by the foundation was going to buy equipment for the children's hospital at the University of Wales hospital in Cardiff, said Australian-born Cockbain, adding the support of his fellow Wales players had been a "catalyst" for a lot of help.

Cockbain and his wife Kate lost their son to cancer last year but had a baby daughter Pippa Carys last month.

The 6ft 8inches tall lock joked that he dwarfed the prince but added: "I'm used to dwarfing people".


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