The Duchess of Cornwall took to the helm of a canal boat in Wiltshire today and joked: "There's new paintwork, are you sure you trust me with it?"

Camilla travelled along the Kennet and Avon canal towards Semington where a new link is being planned between the canal and the River Avon, known as the Melksham Link.

This will also form part of the restored Wilts and Berks Canal.

Wearing a duck-egg blue skirt suit with two dragonfly broaches she looked confident at the helm as she waved to a group of people that had gathered on a bridge above.

The Duchess was joined on board Wilts and Berks Canal Trust's first trip boat by members of the trust.

Trust chairman John Laverick said: "She was brilliant at the helm, our skipper was alongside her but he didn't need to touch the boat."

Earlier she had joked with him saying: "There's new paintwork, are you sure you trust me with it?"

Camilla had joined the boat at Whaddon Lane in Wiltshire and took the helm about a kilometre from the end of her 30 minute boat ride.

Steering the boat under Semington Bridge Mr Laverick said: "I was very impressed she didn't touch the sides."

After she disembarked the canal boat she chatted with local schoolchildren from St Georges Primary in Semington.

She was then handed a bottle of beer and asked to name the boat in the traditional way - by pouring the beer on to the front of the narrow boat, which she named Dragonfly.

As patron of the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust, Camilla was also celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the opening of the canal.

She said: "There were a lot of bets on how many of us will still be alive when the Wilts and Berks Canal is finished. I hope I will be able to accompany the dragonfly on its first journey on the restored Wilts and Berks canal and see you all then."

The trip boat will raise income for the trust by running trips on the restored section of the Wilts and Berks Canal near Swindon.

The Duchess was also asked to dig the symbolic first sod - piece of earth - of the new Melksham Link.

She was helped by 10-year-old Indiana Champion from Melksham who afterwards said: "I was kind of nervous, but it was good to meet her. She was really nice to me."

The new link will enable people coming along the Kennet and Avon Canal to make a boating ring, and also give alternative access to the Midlands.

The new route will also provide 60 miles of standing water habitat.

Earlier, the Duchess of Cornwall celebrated International Literacy Day by joining a children's Rhymetime session.

Organised in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, Camilla visited Trowbridge Library in Wiltshire for the session.

She sat down for Rhymetime with the children and joined in with songs and nursery rhymes, including Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Incy Wincy Spider. She then read Hairy Maclary to the children.

Rhymetime was set up to help improve literacy in children by unlocking their natural love of music.

Afterwards Camilla chatted to a family who attend the Polish session with their 18-month-old daughter Natalia.

Lukasz Kaczmarzyk said: "I am overwhelmed that she chose to come and speak to us."

Before the Duchess left, eight-year-old Ashley Cooke presented her with copies of children's book Handa's Surprise, as a gift for her grandchildren.