CLEVELAND (WJW) — As King Charles III now takes reign of the British monarchy, some people wonder if he will ever return to Northeast Ohio.

Although some may be too young to remember, Prince Charles spent time here in Cleveland 45 years ago…a special moment for people who got a chance to meet him.

“We were told, you can’t talk to him, you can’t go up and offer to shake hands with him, you don’t ask him to pose for pictures,” said retired Channel 8 reporter Neil Zurcher.

Zurcher was a young reporter for Channel 8 when Prince Charles paid a visit to Cleveland in October of 1977.  He was the TV pool reporter, giving him up close access to the prince.

“Obviously he was only 28 years old when he was in Cleveland,” Zurcher recalled.

Prince Charles landed at Burke Lakefront Airport, then was met by a mob of excited Clevelanders in Public Square where he planted a tree.  Zurcher says about a week later the tree was removed to make renovations to Public Square.

“So that’s a big mystery, whatever happened to the tree that the prince planted, or now the king, planted in Cleveland….somebody may have it in their backyard,” he said.

Prince Charles then traveled to the Cleveland Clinic, which was opening a new sports medicine facility.

“He got on some of the lifts and the barbells and things and he seemed very interested in it, especially talking about some new heart surgery that was connected with it at the time,” Zurcher recalled.

Neil says Prince Charles talked extensively to the doctors and nurses and greeted more as he left the hospital.

“Every nurse and person that worked there was out in front and he stopped to shake hands,” he said.

Prince Charles also went to a steel mill, took in a performance by the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall and attended the dedication of a new building at Cleveland State University, where his speech was interrupted by a student.

“Prince Charles, I would like to know when the British government is gonna stop torturing political prisoners in Northern Ireland?” yelled the protester.

“I’ll answer that question later,” Prince Charles responded at the time.

The next day, Neil covered the prince’s departure from Burke.

“He just came around, walked around and shook all of our hands and said goodbye to all of us,” Zurcher recalled.

Neil says he never got a chance to interview Prince Charles, but did have one awkward interaction, while leaving the restroom.

“As I was coming out, in comes the prince and, he stopped me as I started out the door and he says ‘did you wash your hands?” so that was my entire conversation with royalty,” Zurcher said while laughing.