Prince Charles and Camilla

A royal ‘hay day’ for Charles & Camilla at the 157th Great Yorkshire Show

The Great Yorkshire Show, now in 157th-year continued its royal connection on Tuesday. Its patron, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall attended the first day of what is heralded as “England’s Premier Agricultural Event .”

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at the 2011 Great Yorkshire Show meeting cattle exhibitors.

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at the 2011 Great Yorkshire Show meeting cattle exhibitors.

The agricultural show takes place at the Great Yorkshire Showground, in Harrogate and runs until Thursday 16 July. This year over 130,000 visitors are expected to attend over the three days the show is open.

The competitive class that is the core of the event has close to 13,000 entries that range from prize-winning animals to international show jumpers. For those interested in other pursuits, country skills are demonstrated throughout the show as well as a Food Hall containing over 1,2000 stalls and everything from highlighting regional produce to fashion shows.

The Society’s began in 1838. The royal connection also started with it as its first President, and a founding member was The Third Earl Spencer, a cousin of Queen Victoria and an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales

In 1937, The Great Yorkshire Show came to fruition when the third Earl Spencer gathered a group of the top agriculturalists to address the future of the farming industry.

The group agreed to form an organisation The Yorkshire Agricultural Society with the intentions to enhance and expand agriculture and hold an annual agricultural show was showcasing the best of the best. The first Yorkshire Show took place in York in 1838.

1950 saw the decision to construct a permanent showground, and the present Harrogate site was chosen.

Bill Cowling, the outgoing show director, commented on the royal visit: “The Prince of Wales is, of course, our Patron and I have had the honour of showing our wonderful farming showcase to His Royal Highness and The Duchess of Cornwall, on several occasions. Their presence always creates a very special atmosphere as it is plain to see how much they enjoy meeting our visitors, and they have a genuine interest in our show and farming generally.”

Upon their arrival, Charles and his wife were greeted by Four-year-old Jessica Fox and five-year-old Kate Donnelly.

Jessica gave Prince Charles a Yorkshire white rose buttonhole whilst Kate, presented a posy of Yorkshire white roses to The Duchess of Cornwall.

Prior to their meeting Charles and Camilla, both girls were filled with excitement. Kate;s mother, Emma noted: “Kate loves anything to do with the Royal family, and she is already visiting Buckingham Palace with her grandmother later this summer, so this has meant her excitement levels are at an all-time high.”

Jessica is a frequent visitor to the show as her grandmother is the director’s PA. Jessica’s mother commented that leading up to Tuesday that Jessica was was: “practising her curtsies at home, they are a bit wobbly at the moment! She is very much looking forward to meeting the Royal couple.”

During their visit, Charles and Camilla met exhibitors, staff and show visitors.

The royal couple was given a hamper of regional produce from Fodder, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s award-winning shop and café.

The Royal Family had always had a connection to the show beginning in 1848 when Prince Albert visited. Throughout the years, royal visits were part and parcel to the show. The Queen visited the show for first time in 1949 when she was then Princess Elizabeth. From 1952 until 1997, Her Majesty was Patron of the Society. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh last attended in 2008.

Last year The Countess of Wessex attended opening day with The Princess Royal visiting the following day.

Prince Charles became Patron of the Society in 1998 after Her Majesty’s 45-year patronage came to a close. Charles and Camilla last attended in 2011.

Photo credit: The Great Yorkshire Show & @greatyorkshow