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Prince Charles gets his hands dirty: Royal heir visits London sewer

  • Britain's Prince Charles, left with Martin Baggs the CEO of Thames Water look at the interior during a visit to the Abbey Mills Pumping station London, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. The Abbey Mills pumping station is one of the crown jewels of the Victorian sewage system that Joseph Bazalgette designed to help relive the chronic water and sewage problems London's growing population in 1865, and Prince Charles's visit is to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the modern water system that serves London.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool)

    Britain's Prince Charles, left with Martin Baggs the CEO of Thames Water look at the interior during a visit to the Abbey Mills Pumping station London, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. The Abbey Mills pumping station is one of the crown jewels of the Victorian sewage system that Joseph Bazalgette designed to help relive the chronic water and sewage problems London's growing population in 1865, and Prince Charles's visit is to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the modern water system that serves London.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Britain's Prince Charles, left, is shown how reconstruction works is taking place during a visit to the Abbey Mills Pumping station London, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. The Abbey Mills pumping station is one of the crown jewels of the Victorian sewage system that Joseph Bazalgette designed to help relive the chronic water and sewage problems London's growing population in 1865, and Prince Charles's visit is to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the modern water system that serves London.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool)

    Britain's Prince Charles, left, is shown how reconstruction works is taking place during a visit to the Abbey Mills Pumping station London, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. The Abbey Mills pumping station is one of the crown jewels of the Victorian sewage system that Joseph Bazalgette designed to help relive the chronic water and sewage problems London's growing population in 1865, and Prince Charles's visit is to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the modern water system that serves London.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Britain's Prince Charles smiles as he waits to unveil a plaque to commemorate his visit to the Abbey Mills Pumping station London, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. The Abbey Mills pumping station is one of the crown jewels of the Victorian sewage system that Joseph Bazalgette designed to help relive the chronic water and sewage problems London's growing population in 1865, and Prince Charles's visit is to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the modern water system that serves London.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool)

    Britain's Prince Charles smiles as he waits to unveil a plaque to commemorate his visit to the Abbey Mills Pumping station London, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. The Abbey Mills pumping station is one of the crown jewels of the Victorian sewage system that Joseph Bazalgette designed to help relive the chronic water and sewage problems London's growing population in 1865, and Prince Charles's visit is to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the modern water system that serves London.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

It's a long way from Buckingham Palace.

Prince Charles is getting down and dirty Wednesday, visiting a sewer tunnel 75 meters (250 feet) under London's east end.

The heir to the British throne is marking the 150th birthday of the city's sewers, created by engineer Joseph Bazalgette to lift the "Great Stink" caused by sewage and effluent dumped into the River Thames.

Bazalgette's sewers, designed for use by 2 million people, now struggle to cope with more than 6 million Londoners.

The prince is visiting a newly completed tunnel designed to reduce the 39 million tonnes (43 million tons) of untreated sewage released into the river each year.

Charles' great-great-grandfather, King Edward VII, opened Bazalgette's sewer network when he was heir to the throne in 1865.