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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 June, 2003, 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
Prince Charles's tattoo curiosity
The tattoo on Mr Davies' arm

Prince Charles revealed his interest in tattoos while visiting a homeless hostel in Cardiff.

The prince was at a newly refurbished homeless hostel meeting some of the people who use the facilities, when he spotted a large tattoo on the arm of one of the residents.

Joseph Davies, 46, who has been at the centre for four weeks, impressed the prince with his large tattoo of a Chinese dragon emerging from thunder clouds on his arm.

He explained about the different parts of the tattoo to the prince before the royal visitor responded with a story of his own.

Thrusting his shoulders in and out the prince said: "I knew a man when I was in the Navy who had an eagle on his chest and could make its wings flap."

John Davies
Mr Davies showed the prince his tattoo

The prince had been on a visit to the city to attend the opening of the second term of the Welsh assembly with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

But he arranged to visit the Salvation Army's Ty Gobaith Social Services Centre for the Homeless before his engagement at the assembly.

He chatted to residents and staff at the hostel's dining room for about 30 minutes and listened to how the renovation work had improved things and heard from some of the people

Later father-of-three Mr Davies said it was pure chance that the prince had seen his tattoo.

"I was wearing a shirt earlier on but got a bit warm so took it off - otherwise he wouldn't have seen it," he said.

He made everyone feel relaxed and is a very humble man
Harcharan Singh

"He is very down to earth and a real persons person," he added.

The Salvation Army Ty Gobaith hostel in Bute Street, has recently undergone a 2.3m refurbishment.

It opened 65-years-ago and now helps 61 male residents to find a permanent solution to their homeless problem.

During his visit, the prince spoke to Harcharan Singh, 50, who stayed at the centre for six months before moving into his own flat.

Malaysian-born Mr Singh, a qualified nurse, had moved to Cardiff from London following a vicious assault.

The prince spoke to Mr Singh about his experience at the hostel and about his cooking skills.

"Do you cook all sorts of exotic things that blow your head off?" he joked to Mr Singh.

Harcharan Singh
Mr Singh was glad to have met the prince

Following the visit, Mr Singh said how thrilled he was to have met the prince.

"I was really looking forward to meeting him because I am a real royal fan and I collect souvenirs about the royal family," he said.

"He seemed to be really interested in what was going on here and how everybody felt about being here.

"He made everyone feel relaxed and is a very humble man."

Mr Singh who is taking steps to find a suitable job said that his friends and the staff at the hostel had been anticipating the royal visit.

"I think that most people here were looking forward to seeing him and I was really happy to meet him especially as he spoke to me and seemed really interested in me," he added.

Queen opens Welsh assembly
05 Jun 03  |  Wales
Queen completes Wrexham visit
04 Jun 03  |  North East Wales

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