Prince Charles and his wife Camilla visited riot-hit areas of London on Wednesday to meet families and business owners affected by last week's outbreak of violence.

They began their tour in Tottenham, north London, by visiting a local leisure center that was transformed into an emergency refuge for the community in the aftermath of the rioting.

Clarence House said that the royal couple took time out of their break at Balmoral in Scotland, as they were "keen to visit areas affected by the recent street rioting and violence in England."

"You wouldn't expect them to care, so it's really nice," said one 20-year-old woman who watched the royal couple arrive for a meeting with police, fire and ambulance crews as well as families affected by the riots.

"This is a very deprived area. It's taken something as bad as the riots to get those people in the area. On one hand it's a bit upsetting, because they should come anyway. But it shows that we're not just a dot on the map."

The visits came as the Prince of Wales' youth charity, The Prince's Trust, announced a "doubling of support for young people across five of the areas hardest hit by the riots."

They are Manchester in northern England, Birmingham in central England and Hackney, Tottenham and Croydon in London.

In a 2009 article, Charles, the heir to the throne, wrote, "There are still far too many people for whom opportunities do not exist, people whose frustrations and energies, when not channeled at a crucial point in their lives, can so easily be directed into threatening and anti-social activities."