The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall made a whistle-stop tour of parts of the county today.
Their first port of call was to the Sheerness Healthy Living Centre on the seafront to meet staff and volunteers of Sheppey Matters.
They were met by the Lord Lieutenant of Kent Lady Colgrain and Sheppey Matters' chief executive officer Nigel Martin before meeting those behind the Community Chef food truck and the Sheppey Wheels community bus.
As the royal couple entered the building they walked past a Battle of Britain lace panel to commemorate RAF pilots who helped save the Island, the birthplace of British aviation, during the Second World War.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall made a whistle-stop tour of parts of Kent today
Prince Charles and Camilla also met a Syrian family who have settled on Sheppey thanks to help from the Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN) which won the 2022 Hans Albrecht Human Rights Award.
Syrian refugee Osama Sharkia, now a youth ambassador for the Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN), spoke to the royal couple about his experiences.
Now a university student living in Canterbury, he said: “Meeting them was an amazing experience, I never expected to meet them in person and to shake their hands.
“They asked me questions about the work I do, university and how I came to the UK, it was like a normal conversation.
“I was nervous at the beginning of our conversation because it was my first time ever meeting someone from the royal family.
“But when Prince Charles started speaking to me it was so normal, my nerves were gone.
“My work supports new arrivals, young refugees and asylum seekers, whose first language isn’t English.
“So what I do is to be a bridge between them and the organisation I work for.
“We do that by doing translations and building their confidence up, to make them feel comfortable and safe in Kent.
“Prince Charles and Camilla were amazed by the work we are doing.
“They said its nice that I am paying back to the UK and that touched my heart as I feel it is my duty to help refugees and give the same support I was given when I came to the UK."
Commenting on the visit, Bridget Chapman from KRAN said: "This was a great opportunity for Osama to highlight the incredibly important work that our ambassadors do in mentoring and supporting young refugees across the Kent community.
"The last couple of years have been difficult for so many and it is really wonderful to see Their Royal Highnesses taking such a keen interest in the contributions made by and for refugees.
"We are really lucky to have Osama and his family here. They have given so much back and they make Kent a better place to live."
During a tour of the sports centre the couple met personal trainer Ryan Thompson who has launched Mentalk, which encourages men to talk about their mental health problems; the 1,2,3 ADHD and Me project supporting families and young people affected by Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; and a Hub Crafting Group normally based at Eastchurch which has a beach hut at Leysdown.
Yvonne Goodwin, Pearl Small and Angela Rush, all from Eastchurch, are part of the crafting group and Camilla sat down with them and talked about knitting, cracking jokes about her inability to get the hang of the craft.
Pearl said: “Camilla told us that she could never get the hang of knitting. She said she started, gave it a go and tried to knit but she couldn’t do it.”
Yvonne said: “The Duchess of Cornwall said she was never able to master it. Her and Charles liked our work, the prince particularly liked our teapot cover, he said he has one with a snail on top, but we’re not quite that skilled yet!
“A lot of our work goes to charity, we knit baby clothes for the NIC units and some things are sent to children in Africa so Prince Charles and Camilla were quite impressed by that.”
The Royal Highnesses also encountered the Isle Connect You project, which is tackling loneliness on the Island, and members of a Nordic walking group which improves fitness, before walking next door to a former bowling pavilion which is now home to the award-winning Sheppey FM community radio studios.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall started their visit to Kent today on the Isle of Sheppey
The pavilion had been left derelict for seven years before Sheppey Matters turned it into the Sheppey Media Centre.
The Duchess of Cornwall then went on to visit Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, making her first visit to its Brands Hatch centre.
She arrived there at about 12.40pm and was greeted by members of staff and a doggy guard of honour.
Camilla then took a tour of the dog kennels and cattery before joining Battersea ambassador, Paul O’Grady MBE, on a brief woodland walk with a rescue dog which is yet to be rehomed.
And her own dogs, Beth and Bluebell, were invited to join one of Paul’s dogs in a training challenge known as Temptation Alley.
The premise of the game is that the dogs are encouraged to ignore dog treats set out on a path and walk straight to their owner at the other end.
As well as being shown the charity's countryside base and its facilities, she had been introduced to pets needing new homes.
Camilla was introduced to two kittens, named Jingle and Bell, who were rescued over Christmas. Paul scooped them both up – handing Jingle to Camilla and holding Bell himself.
They continued their tour out into the woodland with her two dogs and some of the staff from the centre.
Charles went to Chatham Historic Dockyard and was the first to see the attraction's newest exhibition ahead of its opening to the public later this month.
Admiral Sir Trevor Soar, chairman of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, talks about today's royal visit
He was greeted with a guard of honour presented by members of the Sea Cadets on arrival at the dockyard.
The Prince of Wales, who is patron of the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust (CHDT), is being shown the new Diving Deep: HMS Invincible 1744 display – the dockyard's temporary exhibition for 2022.
It will open to the public on February 12 and tells the story of the gem of the navy in her day which ran aground in the Solent off Portsmouth in 1758.
The exhibition takes visitors on a virtual journey along the seabed to investigate the variety of finds from the wreck.
She was preserved for more than 200 years on the sandbank on the ocean floor and was rediscovered by fishermen in 1979.
An emergency underwater excavation of Invincible tells the story of the vessel and explores her capture, service and her contributions to the Royal Navy.
Admiral Sir Trevor Soar, chairman of the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust (CHDT), said: "He has continued to take a lot of interest in the Dockyard and when Covid came up he wrote to me and everyone here wishing us well.
"For him to cement that relationship with another visit is marvellous. I can only encourage people to come and see us and it's led by a royal so come and see what we do.
"Diving Deep reminded him because he dived on the Mary Rose and he commented that it was a lot murkier when he dived on her.
"What brought it home was the level of preservation of artefacts taken from the ship.
"There's over 100 objects on display from pulling blocks, stockings and kids' shoes all in remarkable preservation so he was quite astounded by that.
"We're made up of people paid to work and a lot of volunteers – over 300 – so the fact he took time to talk to them and other people working here and that meant a lot to people. It's a community here of people living, working and studying."
Richard Morsey, chief executive of CHDT, said: "It was an incredible and wonderful visit. His last visit here was 2013 so the ability show how things have changed since his last visit was great.
"We had a great opportunity to spend time in the Command of the Oceans and items from HMS Invincible and connect to the new Diving Deep exhibition which explores the underwater archaeology."
Chloe Wilson, customer enterprise manager and the dockyard's volunteer beekeeper, presented HRH with a selection of honey produced from bees in four hives around the 80-acre site.
She said: "It was absolutely fantastic and quite surreal really.
"We produce our own honey as part of our sustainability which he took great interest in and he does enjoy honey I believe so it was nice to engage with that.
"It was a real pleasure to meet him and the first time for me so it was a real great experience to have that conversation."
In his first visit back to the dockyard since 2013, Prince Charles was also taken around the Command of the Oceans which tells the story of the dockyard's role during the navy's dominant period in the age of sail.
He also explored the story of HMS Namur whose remains were hidden beneath the floorboards of Wheelwrights Shop and rediscovered in 1995.
Her discovery was said to be the most significant maritime archaeological discovery since the Mary Rose.
His Royal Highness was taken on board the three ships based at Chatham Dockyard – HMS Gannet, the Second World War destroyer HMS Cavalier and HMS Ocelot, the last submarine built at Chatham which this year marks her 60th birthday.
Sir Trevor added: "I met him when I was in the Royal Navy but never in my role as chairman of the historic dockyard so was really looking to showing him how proud we are of this place and his people.
"Most of the royals are very much at ease in a naval background due to their own background so it will be great to see him again."
Admiral Sir Trevor Soar, chairman of CHDT, previously said it was going to be an exciting day for the charity.
The Duchess of Cornwall had an important message for school pupils as she unveiled a new exhibition celebrating the life and works of Charles Dickens.
Her Royal Highness paid a visit to The Guildhall Museum in Rochester to open 'The Making Of Mr Dickens'.
The new permanent exhibit tells the story of one of England’s finest and most celebrated writers and Medway resident, Charles Dickens.
Upon her arrival the duchess was greeted by crowds of school kids and Victorian costumed characters from The Rochester and Chatham Dickens Fellowship.
Touring the new attraction, which opens to the public on Tuesday February 8, Her Royal Highness learned about the relatively unknown side of Dickens’ life including his happy and adventurous childhood in Chatham, the sad days spent living hand to mouth in London, and his return to Higham.
The Duchess of Cornwall was joined by year 5 pupils from St Margaret's at Troy Town C of E Primary School.
Camilla read extracts from Great Expectations to the school kids alongside Gerald Dickens, Charles Dickens’ great, great grandson.
During the short reading session one pupil asked the duchess what her favourite Dicken's novel was. The royal replied a 'A Tale of Two Cities', and her favourite character, The Artful Dodger, from Oliver Twist.
As the duchess stood up to leave she told the pupils: "Read as many books as you can and I assure you it will help you later in life."
After her visit Gerald Dickens, spoke of his delight at having met the duchess and the importance of her visit.
He said: “I was delighted to meet Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall and it was a tremendous honour, and privilege, to read a passage from Great Expectations alongside her to local schoolchildren.
"It is fantastic that there is an exhibition dedicated to celebrating the life of Dickens in Rochester once again and for it to be opened by Her Royal Highness was fantastic and fitting for what Dickens brought to Medway.”
Katie Willis, head teacher of St Margaret's, part of The Pilgrim Multi-academy Trust, said the experience for the pupils would be a "lifelong memory" they will all treasure.
She said: "Our school has strong links with the Guildhall and our pupils visit the museum several times a year.
"The museum’s education officer really does bring history to life and enthuses the children’s learning about history.
"We are privileged to have such an amazing museum and education opportunity on our doorstep.”
Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: "We are incredibly proud of Medway’s rich heritage, and our links to Charles Dickens, and it was wonderful that Her Royal Highness opened the new Making of Mr Dickens exhibition which celebrates Dickens’ life and his connections to Medway.
"I was delighted to meet her and show Her Royal Highness just one of the many fantastic visitor attractions we have here in Medway."
The Duchess of Cornwall then went to Rochester Airport to meet volunteers who have been restoring iconic aircraft – such as the Spitfire and Hurricane – for nearly half a century.
Her Royal Highness, who is patron of Medway Aircraft Preservation Society (MAPS), visited its new purpose-built workshop and hangar at the airfield.
She was also updated on plans for a visitor centre, which is part of the massive redevelopment of the airport in Maidstone Road, Chatham.
The duchess last visited in October 2010 when she received the honorary title of "MAPS Chap" and is said to have taken a keen interest in the society, which aims to preserves the fabric of the nation's aviation history, ever since.
She met MAPS' director Philip Cole and some of the group of highly-skilled mechanics and engineers who are committed to restoring aircraft to their former glory.
They are currently working on a dilapidated old sea plane made by the world-famous aviation manufacturers, Shorts Brothers, once based on Rochester's Esplanade.
Once the long-term project, which has included the painstaking task of building new wings, is finished, it will become a flagship on show at the airfield as well as a lasting memorial to the factory.
Mr Cole said the craft has already taken 10 years to slowly piece together and when asked how it might be finished , he was unable to answer.
The plane, built in the mid-1930s and one of only two known to have survived in the world, was salvaged rotting away in a hangar in Surrey.
MAPS stalwart and historian presented the duchess with his latest publication, County of Kent Squadrons - 131 and 500.
He said: " I gave her another book the last time she came. She seemed pleased and said she would read it on the helicopter home."
After her tour she was escorted to the royal helicopter on the airfield where she was joined by Prince Charles.
Before boarding, the prince chatted to a small crowd who had gathered to see the couple off on their way.
Groundsman Jock Mollins, who has worked at the airport for 18 years said: "He asked me what I did and I said mow the grass, And he said well somebody's got to do that.He was very friendly and had time to talk to everyone."
The plane, built in the mid-1930s and one of only two known to have survived in the world, was salvaged rotting away in a hangar in Surrey.
Their new base is twice the the size of the dilapidated pre-war RAF hut where they have worked tirelessly with no heating and a leaking roof for so many years.
The move will mean they will be able to restore bigger planes and hold open days for visitors to see their work first-hand.
The duchess completed the royal visit and met Prince of Wales at the airport.
The visit also included a private tour of Elmley Nature Reserve on Sheppey for Prince Charles.
He met owner, farmer and conservationist Philip Merricks, and toured the estate, where land is managed for breeding ground-nesting birds.
Elmley is unique in being the only family owned and managed farm to be designated a National Nature Reserve in the UK.
His Royal Highness spoke at length with Mr Merricks, reserve manager Gareth Fulton, and professor Ian Newton, Elmley’s scientific advisor, in detail, about their experiences on the reserve.
Mr Merricks said: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to welcome His Royal Highness to Elmley and to show him the conservation work that has been carried out.
"We have been pleased to share the results from restoring biodiversity to the North Kent marshes and to show him the particularly heartening results for breeding wading birds at Elmley.
“Together with my daughter and son-in-law, Georgina and Gareth Fulton, who handle the day-to-day running of Elmley, we aim to continue our conservation work here for many more years to come.”
Mr Fulton added: “It has been extremely special meeting the Prince of Wales today and having the opportunity to show him the reserve at its busiest in terms of wildlife, and also the positive impact restoring nature to this unique landscape has had on the local economy."