The King attended an event on Friday to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Dumfries House being opened to the public and transformed into a hub for training, education and employment.

More than 150 guests from the local Ayrshire community were invited by The Prince’s Foundation to attend the event, which aimed to recognise the impact that the opening of the house and 2000-acre estate has had on the local community.

Charles had the opportunity to meet and thank guests, including local food suppliers, taxi drivers, volunteers, tradespeople, and the local postman.

Prior to Dumfries House being saved by The King, as Prince of Wales, the house and estate had been a private home which was closed off to the public for more than 200 years.

Today, the estate is the bustling headquarters of The Prince’s Foundation and is one of East Ayrshire's most popular tourist attractions and event venues, welcoming more than 170,000 visitors every year.

As a result, The Prince's Foundation is able to provide employment for hundreds of local people, education and training opportunities for more than 10,000 school pupils and students every year, and to benefit local businesses such as transport firms, hotels, and food and beverage suppliers. 

Cumnock Chronicle: King Charles speaks to attendees at Dumfries HouseKing Charles speaks to attendees at Dumfries House (Image: Mike Wilkinson)

The charity is proud to keep the gates to the estate open 24/7 so that local people can experience the mental and physical benefits that engaging with its beautiful gardens, nature-based playparks and woodland trails can bring.

Speaking at the event, His Majesty said: "Thank you for all your help over all these years. We couldn't have done it without all of you and so we owe you all an enormous debt of gratitude for keeping it all going. Happy 15th anniversary!"

Dame Sue Bruce, Chair of The Prince’s Foundation, added: "His Majesty, as Prince of Wales, had the foresight and belief that it would be possible to use Dumfries House and the regeneration of its estate as a catalyst to improve the lives of the community that lives here.

“Those of you here today are a special part of our journey as we have worked with you all over the year to establish our activities, and I know that your businesses have benefited immensely from the economic and social regeneration which has been created. I look forward to many more years working together."