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It’s not every day that you get to meet a member of the Royal family…and it’s certainly not every day that you get to showcase your workplace to a whole host of VIP visitors from home and abroad.
There was a sense of excitement in the air as we arrived at work on the morning of January 20th. After weeks of careful planning the big day had finally arrived and we were expecting The Princess Royal to arrive at any moment…
Arriving behind the wheel of her car, Her Royal Highness was met by, amongst others, the Mayor and Mayoress of Chipping Campden and company owners Alice and Rupert Welch.
The first stop on the tour was the Design Studio, where our 4 designers had the chance to explain the process behind designing a new product. Using 3D models and sketches they were able to clearly show the design story of several products including Signature Knives and Limbrey Bowls.
The word had spread about Her Royal Highness’ visit and as she left the Design Studio a small crowd had gathered to wave and one lady had the chance to present a bunch of flowers. The Princess Royal then took a short walk to the Studio Shop escorted by Alice and Rupert and the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, Dame Janet Trotter.
MEET AND GREET
Such an exciting occasion had naturally drawn a lot of interest and we welcomed a number of overseas visitors to our shop including stockists, distributors, manufacturers as well as representatives of the local community and Welch family members.
The Princess Royal took time to chat with guests as she explored our flagship store, pausing to appreciate the exhibit outlining all of the stages of knife design and manufacture.
Earlier in the year we worked with our local secondary school to run a design competition with students. The brief was to create a piece of art which could be made using cutlery – the theme was ‘fish’. Student Anna Elvins, who designed the sculpture had been invited along to the shop for the grand unveiling. Local artist Rachel Higgins who interpreted Anna’s winning design was also present as the sculpture was revealed. It was a real ‘wow’ moment – Anna hadn’t seen the sculpture up until this moment and was suitably impressed!
QUEENS AWARD FOR ENTERPRISE
2016 saw Robert Welch Designs being named as one of the recipients of the coveted Queen’s Award for Enterprise, and part of the Princess Royal’s visit was to honour this achievement by presenting the official scroll and commemorative bowl to Rupert and Alice.
Dame Janet and Her Royal Highness were really complimentary about the company and acknowledged the contribution that all team members made towards winning the award.
Everyone who was a part of the day really enjoyed the occasion and were struck by how comfortable The Princess Royal made them feel. Speaking after the visit, I think Alice summed it up perfectly…
“It was an absolute privilege to welcome Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal today who is so well informed in terms of design and so genuinely interested in our company and its history.
After the plaque had been unveiled we spent some time presenting the heritage wall in the studio shop, which documents my father’s design career. I think HRH was genuinely surprised to see a photo of her father presenting Robert with an award in the 1950s!”