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A LONG TIME BETWEEN ROYAL VISITS

Prince Charles became the first member of the British royal family in more than 800 years to visit the monks of Caldey Island off the Welsh coast.

Prince Charles had coffee Saturday with the 15 members of the Cistercian order and met the island's 50 villagers.

The tiny island, with a 12th-century priory, was a stopping-off point on the pilgrimage route to St. David's, birthplace of the patron saint of Wales. Records suggest Caldey's last official royal visitor was King Henry I, who reigned from 1100 to 1135 and stayed at the monastery.

"The Prince of Wales was very interested to hear about our way of life here," Brother Gildaf said afterward.

The islanders presented Charles a basket of home-produced goods, including perfumes made by the monks.

The prince, who arrived by helicopter, made Caldey his first stop on a four-day informal visit to Wales.

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