For an entrepreneurial whiz kid, the chance to network with royalty was too good a chance to pass up.

Prince Charles laughed Tuesday during the second day of his cross-Canada tour as Joe Coffey, the 24-year-old co-founder of Upstream Marketing, shook his hand at Memorial University and slipped him his business card.

It was a rare move not just in terms of protocol niceties but for its sheer audacity.

The prince was amused.

"I think it broke the ice and gave us, you know, something to laugh about," said Coffey.

"He was very curious about our business and what we were doing and that kind of thing. One of the girls said to me: 'He kept the card.' So, if we get a hit on our website from England we'll know who it is."

Charles met with several students and faculty at the university in St. John's after returning from a packed day of historical sightseeing with his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, in Cupids and Brigus on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula.

Charles unveiled a plaque in Cupids to celebrate the community's 400th birthday in 2010.

Cupids United Church was packed with camera-toting admirers as he spoke of the "stoic" early settlers who came to this wildly rugged coastal region in 1610.

"They came with their own vision of a new life ... something new for themselves and their children," he said.

"They all came with a purpose, a dream to create something new ... to contribute to the great and vibrant tapestry which is the Canada of today."

Charles and Camilla arrived under cold drizzle and a grey blanket of cloud cover that appeared to hover just over Conception Bay.

Rain fell off and on, and may well have thinned the sparse crowd of well-wishers who greeted them. A giant Union Jack waved in the breeze, a flag that Premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland and Labrador billed as the largest of its kind in the world.

"And until someone proves us wrong, that is one of our claims to fame in Cupids."

The pretty town, originally known as Cuper's Cove, bills itself as the oldest English settlement in Canada.

Charles, who studied archeology at Cambridge, listened closely and asked many questions -- despite single-digit temperatures and a biting wind -- during a visit to a local dig.

Relics unearthed so far are said to date back to the site's original plantation in 1610.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, his wife Laureen, and Williams looked on as archeologist William Gilbert showed them a coin that was discovered there.

At the church ceremony later, the prime minister began his remarks by recalling the earliest settlers who arrived in Cupids.

The region's soaring hills and savage weather demanded "the spirit of heroes," he said.

A trio including flute, harpsichord and cello then performed for the royals.

Tammy Butler, 32, of Cupids, and her husband Scott pulled their eight-year-old daughter Victoria and 11-year-old son Dylan out of school for the day to wave small Union Jacks and greet the royal couple.

"It's just to be part of history," she said. "Years down the road you'll remember this."

Camilla wore a faux-fur hat against the damp chill, while Charles sported the tie of the Royal Canadian Dragoons and an RCMP lapel pin. Around Camilla's neck was a stole-like wrap of real rabbit fur.

Her decision to wear fur caught the attention of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. A spokeswoman for the animal rights group was quoted by the Press Association, a British news agency, as criticizing Camilla's fashion choice.

It's not the first time the duchess has faced such criticism as she was also denounced by PETA in 2006 when she wore a rabbit fur scarf to an event in England.

It was a short drive for the royal couple to the town of Brigus, also located on the shores of Conception Bay.

It's believed that European settlers landed there as early as 1613, making the community of 800 people one of the oldest in North America.

Its sea-pounded cliffs are as renowned as the historic sites that have been lovingly preserved. They include Hawthorne Cottage, a little house nestled among hawthorn trees that dates back to 1830 and looks like it was pulled from the pages of a fairy tale.

Charles and Camilla were clearly delighted by the place.

It was home to Captain Bob Bartlett, the Arctic explorer who led Admiral Robert Peary's famous expedition to the North Pole in 1909.

Hawthorne Cottage is now a national heritage treasure trove showcasing photos, books, papers and mementoes from those daring adventures.

William Maher, 54, of nearby Roaches Line, came for a glimpse of the couple with his girlfriend, Marie Bishop, 44, of Bay Roberts.

They wound up shaking the hands of both Charles and Camilla, and even exchanged a few words.

"He asked us how we were," said a clearly thrilled Maher.

"That was some good feeling."

Bishop said she'll be reluctant to wash her hand, even in the midst of a swine-flu outbreak, and couldn't wait "to call my Mom."

Charles unveiled another plaque at a housing project in St. John's before heading to Memorial University and then an evening reception at The Rooms, site of the provincial archives, museum and art gallery.

He and Camilla are to spend Wednesday morning in St. John's before heading to Toronto. They will make several stops in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec before ending up back in Ottawa for Remembrance Day.

They will head home from the capital on Nov. 12 after an 11-day tour.