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Prince visits retirement home

HIGHLANDS, Texas -- Cheering crowds of flag-waving Americans and Britons greeted Prince Charles, but four women became ill while waiting in record heat for his appearance.

Charles, whose flushed face also reflected the unseasonably warm weather, Wednesday visited residents of Mountbatten House, a retirement home run by the Daughters of the British Empire.

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The home is named for Charles' late uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India.

The prince had a tea-time chat with 82-year-old Hazel Reilly, the first resident of Mountbatten House. The home sits in a residential area of this city of 3,500, which is perched on the banks of the San Jacinto River about 25 miles east of Houston.

'We talked about his sons and about my sons. I was very careful what I said,' Reilly said. 'He was just a nice young man.'

Charles accepted handmade Christmas tree ornaments -- originally wooden thread spools -- crafted by the home's 13 residents. He also was given a poster-sized postcard designed by Baytown elementary school students.

Charles, touring Texas to celebrate its 150 years of independence from Mexico, spent about 50 minutes inside the home having tea with the residents.

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Temperatures in Houston soared to a record 88 degrees Wednesday afternoon, the third straight day for a record high.

Charles, dressed in a gray suit, light blue shirt and blue and yellow tie, was flushed from the heat, and four women collapsed while waiting outside Mountbatten House.

Wendy Walker, 15, skipped school Wednesday to get a glimpse of the prince.

'I don't believe it,' she said after he strolled over to her. 'Nothing ever comes to Highlands.'

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