The Prince of Wales met business leaders, staff, volunteers and visitors during a tour of Jordans Mill today (Tuesday, December 3).
During an official visit to Bedfordshire Prince Charles spent an hour at the tourist attraction.
Accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis, the Prince started his visit by enjoying a tour of the historic mill.
He was shown around by owners David and Bill Jordan who talked about the history and explained how some of the machinery operates on the building’s different levels.
The flour mill is owned by the Jordans Charitable Trust, set up by the family behind the original Jordans Cereals brand to preserve the mill for future generations.
The Prince also spoke to volunteers at Jordans about the running of the mill, and had a chance to see an array of products produced by the Jordans & Ryvita Company, a separate organisation that also trades in Biggleswade.
Factory workers from the neighbouring Jordans Cereals factory spoke to the Prince about their work.
After leaving the mill Prince Charles was shown around the gardens, and chatted to staff about how they are maintained and about the fresh produce that is grown there.
He then moved onto the cafe, where he spoke to customers.
Keith and Anne Merryweather of Henlow eat at the cafe most days and were thrilled when the Prince approached them.
David said: “He asked us about the menu and what we like to eat here, and how often it changes.”
Anne added: “It all happened so quickly but it was lovely to talk to him.
“We knew he was coming but we didn’t think we would be able to speak to him.”
Business owners from around Beds congregated in one of the corporate function rooms upstairs and the Prince spoke to them in turn about their work.
Firms included the Jordans & Ryvita Company, Bedford brewery Charles Wells and Brinkley Propeller Services.
Engineering director Darren Carter from Meppershall-based firm Brinkley attended and spoke to the Prince.
He said: “We overhaul and repair aircraft propellers and the Prince was asking us about what we do and how the business is going.
“I was telling him that surprisingly the propellers are still made from wood and fibreglass.
“It was a great to meet him.”
Paul Murphy, chief executive of the Jordans & Ryvita Company said: “It was a pleasure to meet His Royal Highness and introduce him to representatives of our business.”
Before leaving Jordans the Prince signed the visitors’ book, before he was driven the short distance to Biggleswade Town FC’s Carlsberg Stadium.
A helicopter was waiting for him on the pitch as the royal engagement drew to a close.
Speaking after the visit, Bill Jordan said: “It was an absolute privilege to provide His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales with a tour of the mill and visitor centre.
“We particularly enjoyed meeting the Prince and showing him the new mill gardens, which demonstrate conservation grade – the field margins that farmers who supply Jordans Cereals have in place to protect wildlife.”
David Jordan added: “It seems odd that the Prince was only here for an hour as he did so much in that time.
“It was an honour to welcome him and show him around, and I think he was particularly interested in the milling side due to his interest in and links with the cereal industry and the regions that produce cereals.”