10HRH HRH the Prince of Wales officially opens its doors for the 104th ideal Home Show

Crowd gathered in anticipation of the opening of the 104th Ideal Home Show on Friday 16th March. The excitement levels were at their highest as visitors to the show were greeted in the courtyard by a full brass band of the Grenadier Guards, and members of the British Army.

This year's show ambassadors George Clarke, Suzi Perry, Gregg Wallace, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Myleene Klass were joined by Major General George Norton, to introduce this year's show and launch the show's third annual ideal Homes for Heroes Appeal, which year aims to raise £1m by 2014.

George Clarke then made a special announcement to introduce a very special guest, HRH, the Prince of Wales who was greeted by cheers and a round of applause by his waiting public.

HRH the Prince of Wales then took the scissors to cut the ribbon and officially open the show!

Held over 17 days, the Ideal Home Show 2012 is the largest consumer home show in the events calendar at Earls Court, and is packed to the rafters with home improvements, icon show homes, interiors, interiors, technology and decorating inspiration this Spring.

As the doors were unlocked on opening day, the Prince of Wales accompanied George Clarke on a tour of the show, starting with a visit to the Soldiers charity stand, the ideal Food Pavilions, and on to a private tour of the Prince's Arts and Craft's Show House. A revolutionary, low energy eco-home designed by The Prince's Foundation and built with high levels of quality, recycled materials and craftsmanship.

The house, designed by the Prince's Foundation for the Building Community has been built at this year's show as part of a five year partnership with the ideal Home Show to show visitors how sustainable living can be stylish, comfortable and affordable and how having a sustainable approach to homes and gardens can have a positive effect on local communities.

The Prince of Wales was then taken to see the Ideal Homes for Heroes stand where he spoke to some of the beneficiaries who have benefited from the scheme and met with Tommy Walsh an ambassador for the campaign.

The Prince of Wales spoke for a while about their experiences and how the appeal had helped them. Jo Jones, from Wellingborough, in Northants, is married to Rob, who has been in the army since 1983, suffered a stroke in 2012 which left her paralysed down her left hand side. The ideal Homes for Heroes Appeal contributed £10,000 towards the cost of converting Rob and Jo's garage into a purpose-built bedroom with en-suite wet-room. She said "It's been life changing, I lived in a typical home which was not at all suitable for disabled use and with the help of the charity the adjustments have been made and since then my husband and I feel able to enjoy life again."

The Prince of Wales was then escorted to the ideal food hall where he was greeted by Ambassador Gregg Wallace who introduced him to stall owners to talk about their produce. After doing a shot of whisky from one of the stalls with Gregg Wallace who toasted "to the Queen" he continued to lead the way to the grand opening of The Prince's Arts and Crafts House which takes centre stage between the Swedish House sponsored by IKEA, and the Santiago House sponsored by Dulux.

Crowds gathered outside to try take a sneak peak into the windows at the Royal visit.

As the day progressed hundreds of guests continued to stream through the doors armed with their measuring tapes and swatches, taking advantage of the huge range of interesting things to see, do and taste at Britain's best loved consumer show.

Special guest Ulrika Jonsson presented the Swedish House sponsored by IKEA and presented by the Swedish Trade Council in front whilst the Santiago House sponsored by Dulux was officially opened by show Ambassadors Laurence Lewlleyn-Bowen and George Clarke.

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis, speaker on the How to Theatre in Association with B&Q, was giving financial advice to visitors to help save money on household costs.

Phil Vickery, Martin Blunos and Dean Edwards were also cooking up a storm on the Celebrity Chef Theatre sponsored by Siemens home appliances, to the delight of visitors who got to taste and try their culinary delights.

Speaking at the opening, Ambassador George Clarke commented: "Today has been fantastic. The Royal visit has kick started the show in spectacular style and reflects the success of this growing event. This year's content is brilliant with a range of Show homes, interiors, gardens and gadgets and DIY classes for everyone, so there's something for everyone."

"There is a real sense of national excitement" said Laurence Llewellyn- Bowen.

The show is now in its 104th year and attracts over 270,000 visitors annually. This year's show runs from the 16th March to April 1st and will feature a wide range of new product launches, home improvement, technology, and interiors inspiration across the next 17 days. All of our celebrity Ambassadors will be dropping in for talks, demonstrations and book signings. For more information and to see a full schedule log on to