The Princess of Wales toured a heritage textile mill in Yorkshire on Tuesday that has a close association with her family.
The Princess visited the leading mill AW Hainsworth - which bought out her own family manufacturing firm 65 years ago - to highlight the thriving nature of the British textile manufacturing industry.
In 1958 the family business of her paternal great-grandfather, Noel Middleton, was sold to AW Hainsworth in Pudsey, West Yorkshire, after more than 160 years in business.
Walking around the factory floor on Tuesday, Kate expressed intricate knowledge of the business and the various fabrics.
Grabbing some handfuls of freshly-woven Merino wool, she said: “I love the feel of it,” adding that “you can smell the lanolin, I love it”.
AW Hainsworth is a family-owned heritage textile mill, established in 1783, which manufactures British woollen cloth and other materials and holds a Royal warrant from the late Queen.
The company, based in Stanningley, made the scarlet tunics of the guardsmen on duty during the coronations of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 and the King in May.
They also made the fabric used for Prince William’s wedding-day uniform as well as the jacket Prince Louis wore to the King’s crowning ceremony.
It supplies textiles to a range of clients, from fashion brands such as Chanel and Burberry, to the Armed Forces, and it produces woven felt for pianos and other musical instruments and creates protective materials for emergency services and military personnel.
During her tour, the Princess learned about the manufacturing process of textiles, from yarn to fabric.
She also visited the weaving section of the mill where she spent several minutes observing the dyeing area, where fabric was being turned red for Buckingham Palace military uniforms.
The Princess said: “As a consumer it is so nice to be able to tell that story to understand where the produce comes from.”
Rachel Hainsworth, who is the seventh generation of the family to be involved in the mill’s operations, said it was amazing to have Kate visit and “see everything come full circle”.
She added: “We chatted about her family history, she said her parents had been talking to her about it. She was very interested to hear about the collar meltons and how they are still going, which was such an important part of their business.
“My father is so proud that we have that connection and we have the icing on the cake by her coming here.”
After leaving the mill, the Princess undertook a second engagement in Lancaster at a print-works factory, where she revealed that her daughter was a keen dancer.
Speaking to a young girl who had given her flowers after the visit, Kate said: “My daughter Charlotte likes dancing, she loves ballet and tap …. Keep up the dancing.”
She had toured Standfast & Barracks, which was formed 99 years ago and is renowned for its heritage in textile design and creativity.
The Princess was shown the vibrant designs for upholstery, cushions, and curtains - and was also told how the company has become more sustainable.
She spent an hour touring the factory and told workers at the end of her visit that it was “great to see the process from start to finish.”
Kate is known to be passionate about the importance of the fashion and textiles industry, which contributes £20 billion to the UK economy annually and employs 50,000 people.