The Duchess of Cornwall made a low-key visit to Wiltshire yesterday as most attention was on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their first day of #RoyalVisitSweden.
Arriving at the Stratton St Margaret brewery, the Duchess was met by 10-year-old, Izzy Arkell who handed her a bouquet of flowers. Izzy was one of the four generations of the Arkell family “excited” to meet Camilla.
Sir Noel Arkell once ran the brewery, but his daughter, Pamela McGrath, 96, a former Red Cross worker, spoke of her time visiting the World War Two camp Belsen.
Camilla was on hand to officially open the new shop and visitor centre as the brewery celebrated its 175th anniversary.
The firm’s chairman, James Arkell, said: “We have had a lot of luck, a lot of sound business sense, a lot of good advice and a huge enthusiasm for beer.”
After thanking the Duchess, he also thanked the people of Swindon for their business over the years: “They’ve been with us through generations. They kept faith with us and drank lots of our beer.”
While touring the brewhouse, Camilla helped brew ‘The Duchess Celebratory Ale’, an exclusive new beer in her honour. The barely used was farmed from Prince Charles’s farm at Highgrove, Gloucestershire.
Alex Arkell said: “The Duchess is going to be dark and malty, but with a really tropical hoppy flavour to it.”
Camilla added that she was “particularly looking forward” to tasting the beer.
In the Brewhouse, The Duchess tries her hand at ‘swinging the Valentine’ – an essential part of the brewing process.
— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) January 30, 2018
She also added: “I would like to wish everybody here a very happy 175th anniversary. You all seem to be related to somebody else.”
The leader of the Swindon Borough Council, David Renard commented on the visit, saying: “I’m delighted the Duchess of Cornwall is continuing to support Swindon and all the various landmarks that we have here.
“I think the Arkell’s success story is down to it being a family business that’s very much part of the community.”
Before heading the brewery, the Duchess spent time at the new Marlborough St. Mary’s Church of England Primary School where she learned about the school’s radio station.