KING Charles is set to pay a momentous visit to Colchester next week to mark the area's city status.

He has visited Colchester and wider Essex multiple times over the years.

One such visit was in 2014, to Essex University for its Big Bang Fair.

His Majesty stopped to speak to the crowds as he walked to the event with the Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster and Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant, Lord Petre, after arriving by helicopter.

On the day outside the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall, King Charles was presented to a number of dignitaries including the former Colchester mayor John Elliott.

The king, who is a known lover of architecture, also made headlines for his somewhat damning criticism of the university's new modernist Ivor Crew Lecture Theatre which the then-prince described as looking like a dustbin.

King Charles is also Colonel-in-Chief of the Parachute Regiment and has made frequent visits to Colchester Garrison.

He has presented tour of duty medals to soldiers including those who returned from Afghanistan.

In 2021, he cast a careful eye over Colchester's parachute regiment during a "momentous and historic" visit to Merville Barracks.

The King presented the Army's world-renowned airborne battalions with new colours - military ceremonial flags.

Personnel from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd battalions of the Parachute Regiment were presented with the flags, which replaced those previously presented to the battalions at Aldershot in 1998.

In 2017, Prince Charles spoke of the “immense pride” he felt towards his role during a visit to Colchester to mark 40 years of being Colonel in Chief of the regiment.

He stopped to speak to soldiers during the visit and presented commendations to six soldiers for their service.

The prince gave a speech to the soldiers and presented medals, before watching a parachute display by the Red Devils Freefall display team.

He also visited each battalion in turn and they presented aspects of regimental life, from parachuting to vehicles and equipment.