Pop star Katy Perry and heir to the throne Prince Charles heaped praise on one another at an event to announce her as new ambassador to the British Asian Trust.
The Prince of Wales struck up an unlikely friendship with the pop princess when they met at an event for the trust in Mumbai in November a day before his 71st birthday.
He described meeting Katy as ‘ a wonderful birthday present’.
The US star greeted Charles by saying ‘hello again’ at a black tie reception and dinner at Banqueting House in London last night to shed light on a major drive against child-trafficking.
In a speech, she said: ‘I’m excited to be here because I’m a big fan of His Royal Highness and all the work that he has done and is continuing to do, especially in India for children.
‘In my own personal experience, he has an incredibly kind soul. So kind, that yes, sometimes he talks to his plants.
‘And he asked me if I could sing to his plants. And I will, in the future, you have my word, sir.’
After she introduced him to the stage, Charles said: ‘I’m enormously grateful to Katy Perry for such a kind introduction, which she told me just now that she wanted to make it slightly more spicy, but I think she resisted the temptation.’
He added: ‘Given Katy’s long-standing commitment to charitable causes around the world, I’m delighted to be announcing that she has most generously agreed to become an ambassador for the British Asian Trust’s children’s protection fund for India.’
The British Asian Trust (BAT), along with billionaire Sir Chris Hohn and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, is to develop the largest anti-trafficking fund ever seen in South Asia.
There are believed to be 5.8 million children working in forced labour in India, with tens of thousands thought to be in hazardous workshops in Jaipur alone, producing goods including bangles, embroidery and other products, with many forced to work for up to 15 hours a day.
Katy, who is also a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador, said she hoped she could ‘help shine my light on the work that the British Asian Trust will be doing in South Asia, and to be a part of finding solutions to child-trafficking’.
She added: ‘Children are vulnerable and innocent and have to be protected.’
The BAT has been working with business, government and communities to remove child labour from supply chains and encourage child labour-free products in markets as part of the Child Labour Free Jaipur Initiative.
The Prince of Wales founded the organisation with British Asian business leaders in 2007 to tackle widespread poverty, inequality and injustice in south Asia.
Richard Hawkes, chief executive of BAT, said: ‘She’s such a massive global superstar and having her associated with the organisation in any way is absolutely brilliant for us because it definitely attracts attention, it gets people more aware of our work and aware of the anti-trafficking work that we do.
‘So yes, without question it’s going to raise our profile and get more people interested in what we do.’
Before their speeches, Charles and Katy were seen laughing together as they chatted, with the singer said to have remarked about his plants.
Charles is said to have replied to her: ‘I would prefer it if you sang to them.’