CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Before he was King Charles III, he was Prince Charles of Wales – and visited Charleston 33 years ago just months after Hurricane Hugo devastated the community.

It was February 1990, and one person who was with Prince Charles every step of his visit to the Holy City was Charleston’s longtime mayor, Joseph P. Riley Jr.

A royal-southern welcome for royalty in a city named after a king.

“I am delighted that this meeting could take place in Charleston. A very good name if I may say so,” Prince Charles said during a speech at the Old Exchange Building.

He came to Charleston with corporate leaders to discuss the roles and responsibilities of business. It was actually his second visit to Charleston. The first was in 1977.

Safe to say, he liked the place – and its people.

“Under the leadership of Mayor Riley, and other outstanding community leaders, you have built, conserved, and regenerated a city which is a truly international asset,” the prince said.

“He was very relaxed and very gracious,” said Riley. “No sense that he was part of a royal or anything like that.”

Mayor Joe Riley, who served Charleston for over four decades, remembers the King’s visit well and reflected on the three-day stay 33 years ago.

“It was just a very special moment in time for me,” he said.

Mayor Riley served as a tour guide of sorts, introducing Prince Charles to others, and showing him the city during his several stops. Riley said he took considerable interest in Charleston’s historic preservation efforts.

“That was a lesson that he could take around the world, certainly in Great Britain, that you can build new buildings but make sure that they blended in and comfortable with what existed before,” said Riley. “He thought that was an excellent example that he would talk about- and I’m sure he has talked about over the years.”

After digging through the WCBD archives, we showed Mayor Riley videos of Charles’ visit — a stroll down memory lane.

Riley showed Charles affordable housing apartments in the city, and they both helped plant a tree; remember, this visit came just five months after Hurricane Hugo struck the Lowcountry.

And security was tight then for a man who would eventually become king.

Memories that have lasted a lifetime. Three days in February, 33 years ago.

That tree Mayor Riley and then-Prince Charles planted still stands on Cannon Street today. Mayor Riley still very proud of that moment. A great remembrance of the future king’s visit to Charleston.