The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall took a turn at table tennis on their first visit to the county since the accession of King Charles III.

The couple visited the Dracaena Community Centre in Falmouth, in recognition of the vital work the organisation does for local people, and grabbed the opportunity to join in with a table tennis session.

Group organiser Jane Leigh said: “I told the centre manager I had a couple of bats ready in case the royals wanted to stop, but he said they were on a strict schedule and wouldn’t have time.

“When they walked in, however, they went straight to a table where Steve Simmons and Les Douce were playing and asked if they could join them for a game of doubles.”

All other play, and the media tour, came to a complete stop as the royals played several points with Steve and Les. (Photo above courtesy of Press Association)

Steve said: “It was surreal to think we were chatting with the future king, just like we were down the pub. I kept the ball going, and at one point Kate smashed the ball into William’s face. I was glad I didn’t do that!”

Les, who partnered Kate, said: “They just came up and asked if they could join in. They were so friendly, and Kate was every bit as good as I thought she’d be. Playing with them was mind-blowing.”

Jane added: “The group started as a ladies’ Bat & Chat session before the pandemic, with the help of a grant from Table Tennis England, and I set up a mixed group once lockdown was over. Numbers haven’t yet recovered to pre-lockdown levels, so the sessions were eventually combined to keep one session running.

“Hopefully the royal couple’s interest will pave the way to more Cornish people coming along to have a go. Kate did say she’d bring her trainers next time she visited, and we look forward to another royal doubles date.”