Royal engagement with a difference as Duchess of Cornwall's dog Beth helps with plaque unveiling

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·Royal Correspondent
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Watch: Duchess of Cornwall’s dog helps her unveil plaque

The Duchess of Cornwall’s dog Beth has helped her unveil a plaque on an engagement to a dogs home in Surrey.

Camilla, 73, was greeted by a doggy ‘Guard of Honour’ as she arrived at the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in Old Windsor, one of the charity’s three sites for rescue animals.

The duchess’s dogs, Beth and Bluebell, were both adopted from Battersea, and featured in a photograph with Charles for the couple’s 15th wedding anniversary earlier this year.

Camilla was at the site to see new facilities, and open the Duchess of Cornwall Kennels.

Generous Beth brought treats for the dogs, on behalf of her and Bluebell.

The Duchess of Cornwall with Beth, her jack-russell terrier, unveiling a plaque together, with the help of a sausage to encourage Beth to pull on the string. The pair are visiting the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home to open the new kennels and thank the centre's staff and supporters.
The Duchess of Cornwall with Beth, her Jack-Russell terrier, unveiling a plaque together, with the help of a sausage to encourage Beth to pull on the string. (PA)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visits Battersea Dogs Home in Windsor on December 09, 2020 in Windsor, United Kingdom. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
The Duchess of Cornwall visited Battersea Dogs Home in Windsor on 9 December, 2020 in Windsor. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall with her dog Beth as she visits Battersea Dogs Home in Windsor on December 09, 2020 in Windsor, United Kingdom. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Camilla with her dog Beth at the engagement on Wednesday. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visits Battersea Dogs Home in Windsor on December 09, 2020 in Windsor, United Kingdom. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Camilla was there to open the Duchess of Cornwall kennels. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)

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But Beth seemed reluctant to share her royal owner with any of the other residents of Battersea, and was seen barking and jumping toward Camilla when she met some of the dogs at the home.

She was able to help in a very important royal task though, as she unveiled the plaque at the entrance to the new facilities.

Camilla picked up Beth as she helped her reach the blue covering, which had a sausage attached, to encourage Beth to chomp down on. As it was pulled away, it revealed the memento of the big day.

The duchess said: “Now they say you should never work with animals, and now, with the help of Beth, I’m going to attempt to unveil a building with the help of a dog.”

As the covering came away she said “brilliant” and added: “Anyone would think you’ve never been fed.”

The Duchess of Cornwall with Beth, her jack-russell terrier, unveiling a plaque as they visit the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home to open the new kennels and thank the centre's staff and supporters.
Camilla laughed as the covering came off from the plaque thanks to Beth's work. (PA)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall with Beth, her jack-russell terrier as they visit the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home to open the new kennels and thank the centre's staff and supporters on December 9, 2020 in Windsor, United Kingdom. (Photo by Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Camilla and Beth took treats for the dogs as they went to thank the centre's staff and supporters. (Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall decorates a Christmas tree as she visits Battersea Dogs Home in Windsor on December 09, 2020 in Windsor, United Kingdom. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
The Duchess of Cornwall decorated a Christmas tree at the Battersea Dogs Home in Windsor. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)

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Addressing the staff and guests, Camilla said: “Thank-you very much for asking me to come and open these kennels today. I’m extremely touched that they have been called after me.

“So every time I come here I’ll be able to look at my very own kennels, hence the Duchess of Cornwall Kennels. I would also like to thank everybody, everybody here, because I know how tough COVID has been for all of you.

“Hopefully with the vaccine etc, we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel so things will start to improve.

“But I suspect as they do, more and more dogs and cats will start coming in and you’re going to be busier than ever. So these kennels are going to be worth their weight in gold. And they’re pretty luxurious kennels. I wouldn’t mind spending a night in them.

Camilla then put an ornament on the Christmas tree to mark the end of the trip.

She wore a dark green coat for the occasion, and leather gloves with a black furry trim. She also had on a face covering decorated with paw prints.

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall meets a Pug Puppy called Ernie as she visits the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home to open the new kennels and thank the centre's staff and supporters on December 9, 2020 in Windsor, United Kingdom. (Photo by Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Camilla couldn't resist a cuddle with a Pug Puppy called Ernie. (Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall presents a Christmas stocking to Sandy as she visits the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home to open the new kennels and thank the centre's staff and supporters on December 9, 2020 in Windsor, United Kingdom. (Photo by Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Camilla gave a Christmas stocking to Sandy. (Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall meets residents and staff as she visits the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home to open the new kennels and thank the centre's staff and supporters on December 9, 2020 in Windsor, United Kingdom. (Photo by Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
She saw the new facilities and said she was honoured that they had been named after her. (Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall meets residents and staff as she visits the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home to open the new kennels and thank the centre's staff and supporters on December 9, 2020 in Windsor, United Kingdom. (Photo by Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Camilla got a guard of honour when she arrived at the home. (Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Bluebell, Camilla’s other rescue dog, had to miss the visit because she’s hurt her leg.

Festive gifts from Beth and Bluebell to the Battersea dogs included dog toys, a collar, a bandana and a corgi Christmas decoration, from the Buckingham Palace gift shop.

Battersea had to suspend their routine taking in of animals over the national lockdown, but was able to stay open for emergency help.

The Duchess of Cornwall kennels, at Battersea’s Old Windsor site, were built with support from donors, as the charity raised £3m to demolish and rebuild the former block.

The new facilities are the first of their kind at the three sites, and include heated blocks for mothers and puppies.

There is also a “chill-out” room for the dogs to spend time in a more domestic environment with the staff.

It has an integrated music system to allow them to play different types of music to keep the dogs relaxed.

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