Princess of Wales tours Leeds textile mill with a family connection


The Princess of Wales was learning about her family history on Tuesday with a trip to a heritage textile mill.

She was visiting Leeds and Lancaster discovering more about the heritage and innovation of the vital UK textile industry.

Kate, whose paternal ancestors were the owners of the woollen manufacturer and merchant, William Lupton & Co, in Leeds, is known to be passionate about the importance of the industry.

On her visit to Leeds she was visiting AW Hainsworth, a family-owned heritage textile mill established in 1783 which manufactures British woollen cloth, high-performing technical textiles, and iconic fabrics.

In 1958, Kate’s great-great grandfather sold William Lupton & Co to AW Hainsworth.

She was to be told the mill’s historic connection to her ancestors during her time there.


Kate was to be told how the industry is introducing more sustainable practices as well as how working alongside local universities and colleges is helping to upskill young people.

Today, AW Hainsworth is a fully integrated, vertical textile mill which supplies fabrics to a wide range of customers – from fashion and homeware brands to the Armed Forces.

It also produces woven felt for pianos and other musical instruments, designs national and international transportation fabric, and creates protective materials for emergency services and military personnel worldwide.

AW Hainsworth is proud to hold a Royal Warrant and its fabrics were on display during the Coronations of both the late Queen in 1953 and the King earlier this year.

Kate was touring the mill and learning about the manufacturing process of textile – from yarn to fabric – and how traditional machinery and techniques are the backbone of today’ s industry.


She was to meet several apprentices, alongside their mentors, who are passing down generations of specialist skills.

The Princess was also visiting the new state-of-the-art on-site lab which the company is using for cutting-edge innovation and product development.

She was being joined by Professor Stephen Russell, the Founding Director of Future Fashion Factory an industry-led collaborative R&D programme that harnesses academic and business expertise to design and deliver innovation in fashion and textiles.

Stephen is also the Director of the Leeds Institute of Textiles and Colour, a world leading research institute bringing together expertise in design, technology, science, and engineering.

She was hearing about the importance of innovation in the textiles industry as it looks to the future.