The Prince of Wales raised a smile in Sussex today when he asked members of a boys' choir if their colleagues' snoring kept them awake.

On a visit to Chichester Cathedral, Prince Charles joked: "Are you all in dorms? Do you keep each other awake snoring?"

He made the comment on a tour of the historic cathedral as part of his visit to Sussex.

The 23 members of the choir, aged from seven, giggled before one piped up: "Yes, we do."

Bass singer David Riley, at 44 the oldest member of the choir, said: "He chatted to all of us very informally. He was very interested in what we did. He was relaxed and well-informed."

The prince, who is patron of the Chichester Cathedral Millennium Endowment Appeal, was shown the results of a huge restoration to the south transept.

During the tour he also spoke to staff and volunteers, before meeting donors whose contributions have helped swell the appeal's coffers to around £4 million, including Keeping Up Appearances star Patricia Routledge.

The TV sitcom actress, a keen supporter of the cathedral, said: "This is a very special visit for all of us involved."

As he left the cathedral just before 1pm, the prince was greeted by crowds of cheering children who held out their hands for him to shake as he passed by.

The Dean of Chichester Cathedral, the Very Reverend Nicholas Frayling, said: "We were delighted to have Prince Charles today. It's a great honour and his support is greatly valued."

Prince Charles had arrived in Chichester by helicopter and greeted crowds outside the St Mary's Hospital Almshouses, where he opened a new accommodation wing.

This afternoon he was touring the South of England Show at Ardingly.

During his three-and-a-half hour visit he was due to see livestock, produce and trade exhibitions and present the Cattle Championships Awards.

Princess Alexandra mingled with a crowd of more than 20,000 on the first day of the show yesterday.

The Queen's cousin met members of the public and walked around pens containing goats, sheep and pigs.

She asked Jane Wyatt, who runs Cissbury Farm in Findon, about the sheep she had brought.

Mrs Wyatt said: "It was wonderful to meet Princess Alexandra. She admired the animals and was interested in what breed they were."