THERE was an extra special patron at the Ponthir House Inn this afternoon as the Prince of Wales stopped off on the last engagement of his tour of the country.

He was welcomed by landlord Barrie Walden, who has opened a pop-up village store in the dining area of the pub during lockdown - selling essential items to residents.

Before heading inside however, the Prince made time to speak to residents who had lined the street for his arrival - one woman had even taken up a viewpoint on her roof.

He made even more time for the four-legged onlookers, especially a great dane-poodle cross, whom the Prince mentioned numerous times during his visit.

He remarked how he would have arrived sooner but for a blockage on the M4 motorway.

Once inside, the first stop - unsurprisingly - was the bar, where the Prince poured a pint of Wye Valley Brewery's Butty Bach before putting his "beastly" mask back on to speak to regulars.

Among them were the local book club, and one member presented the Prince with a story which had been written by her father about his time serving in India during partition.

The Prince of Wales asked her if her father had managed to return to India since his service, but due to ill health he had not.

The Prince asked for his encouragement to be passed on.

He also offered his gratitude to the club for their avid following of the book club he runs alongside the Duchess of Cornwall.

He said that his wife would be "thrilled".

Outside once more, and the Prince met schoolchildren from Ponthir Church School, who presented him with a book containing their stories and pictures.

He asked them if they were looking forward to their summer holidays - a question which was given an enthusiastic response to the affirmative.

One pupil asked where the Prince's helicopter was parked and received a wry smile and a wink as an answer.

Next, the Prince was told all about the Pub is the Hub and how they have helped Mr Walden set up the community store at the pub.

With many elderly local residents, limited public transport and the nearest town several miles away, the pop-up shop proved a big hit - so much so that Mr Walden has decided to make it a permanent fixture.

The Prince was impressed at how the vegetable display in particular was kept looking so well-stocked.

"You don't have to get things off the back off lorries?" he joked.

The bowls club also got a royal visit, with the Prince trying his hand at the game.

Unfortunately, his effort may not live up to the members' standards and he remarked that it was "the most embarrassing thing I've ever done, I shouldn't have had that Butty Bach".

"I think I need some further instruction," he said.

"It's all balls to me."

Asked about England's chances in the Euro 2020 final, the Prince said: "It would be marvellous if they won on Sunday."

He said he'd be watching the game.

The visit was over as quickly as it began, the Prince waving goodbye to people lining the street and being driven away.

Mr Walden remarked: "I need a pint of Guinness after that."