A GRINNING Prince Charles has toasted the birth of granddaughter Lilibet with a bottle of gin in Oxford, where he visited a Mini factory.
The Prince of Wales hailed the Los Angeles birth of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's daughter as "happy news".
Charles commented on becoming a grandfather for the fifth time following the birth of Lilibet "Lili" Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, while visiting Mini's production plant at Cowley, near Oxford.
Today he also visited the Oxford Botanic Garden and Somerville College while in Oxford.
After he drove a new green-coloured electric mini off the production line, he gave a speech to assembled workers and apprentices.
The royal said: "The development of technology like electric vehicles, or green hydrogen for… heavy transport, is vital for maintaining the health of our world for future generations.
"[This is] something I'm only too aware of today having recently become a grandfather for the fifth time.
"And such happy news really does remind one of the necessity of continued innovation in this area, especially around sustainable battery technology, in view of the legacy we bequeath to our grandchildren."
I've recently become a grandfather for the fifth time.
The royal, who drives an Aston Martin sports car converted to run on surplus wine, said at least he had not "blown the blood doors off" an electric version of the mini when he took if for a brief test drive.
Charles had driven the Mini slowly off the production at just a few miles an hour and turned left after about 20 metres and stopping.
He added: "If I may say so at least my test drive a moment ago was on the whole without incident and only went to prove that the new Mini is silent but deadly and also a very good colour indeed.
"And to paraphrase the immortal words of Sir Michael Caine [in The Italian Job] 'at least I didn't blow the bloody doors off'."
A spokesperson for Mini said that the royal was able to meet some of the 130 apprentices.
Prince Charles also mingled with staff who were closely involved in "integrating the manufacturing of the Mini Electric onto the standard production line, making Oxford the first BMW Group plant in the world to build fully electric and combustion cars on the same line", they said.
He was also introduced to members of the Mini team whose families have worked at the plant over a number of generations, across the decades.
Peter Weber, managing director, Plant Oxford said: “It was an absolute honour and pleasure to welcome the Prince of Wales to the heart of the Mini brand here in Oxford and we were delighted that he could join us to mark this important manufacturing milestone.
"It was a real highlight to see His Royal Highness drive one of our Mini Electrics off the production line today.
"Mini will be the first BMW Group brand to go fully electric by the early 2030s."
While in Oxford, he was also today snapped swapping a bottle of his Highgrove Gin with a bottle of Oxford Physic Gin.
He'd been presented with the latter while visiting the Oxford Botanic Garden as its Patron, to mark the Garden's 400th Anniversary.
Also today, the royal helped to celebrate the contribution of female students to life at Oxford University with a visit to one of its celebrated colleges.
Charles toured Somerville College, established 140 years ago as a place for women to study during the late Victorian era, when society and academia were against women undergraduates.
His visit also marked 100 years of Oxford degrees for women and the prince met research students from the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development.
When the prince was introduced to the only man in the group he joked: "They do allow men in!"
Former prime minister Margaret Thatcher studied at the college as did her Indian counterpart Indira Gandhi, the acclaimed writer Dorothy L Sayers, Nobel Laureate Dorothy Hodgkin and the politician Shirley Williams.
During the visit Charles chatted to research students from the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development and about their projects.
He was told about the use of satellites to identify areas suitable for sustainable forestry and learnt how another researcher was studying water risks to help cities manage water supplies.
His visit to Oxford comes several days after the birth of little Lilibet.
Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor shares the nickname Prince Philip called his wife the Queen for more than 70 years — while the middle name is a tribute to Harry’s mum.
The Duchess of Sussex, 39, gave birth at 11.40am local time last Friday, June 4, at a hospital ten minutes’ drive from their £11million mansion in Montecito, California.
The baby weighed in at 7lbs 1oz.
In a statement Harry and Meghan, who have a two-year-old son Archie, said: “On June 4th, we were blessed with the arrival of our daughter, Lili.
“She is more than we could have ever imagined, and we remain grateful for the love and prayers we’ve felt from across the globe.
“Thank you for your continued kindness and support during this very special time for our family.”
A spokesman said mum and baby were “healthy and well”.
Meghan chose Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital over the popular Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles.
The spokesman went on: “Lili is now setting in at home.” They confirmed: “Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty the Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet.
“Her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honour her beloved late grandmother, The Princess of Wales.”
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