It all began in April, with a visit from Dame Shan Legge-Bourke. She called into the Mill to ask if we might be able to host a visit from HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall during their annual summer break. Dame Shan said that the Royals would be particularly interested in the Mill for its community credentials, and let it drop that Their Royal Highnesses enjoy our bread when they are staying in the area. What followed was a recce, supposed to be discreet, but try hiding 9 of the Royals’ officials and having a discreet conversation in the café, especially when one of them was over 6’ tall, and they were all dressed in a distinctly ‘London look’! It was agreed that we would be put forward, that we would have to wait a couple of weeks to find out, and that we couldn’t tell anyone who the VIPs we were inviting them to meet were. We got the go ahead and had to quickly compile a list of invitees. Volunteers, staff, Talgarth school and suppliers were all included. When it came to café customers, we had to put the names of our regulars in a hat and draw lots, as space was limited. Two weeks before, we were allowed to say who was coming, but not at what time, and excitement began to mount as people planned what to wear!
On the day, guests had to arrive by 9.30am. As the time of the Royals’ arrival drew nearer, Dame Shan’s invited guests arrived, and we lined up at the gate to greet their Royal Highnesses. Having introduced them to Bruce and Rosie Williams, Liz and I took Prince Charles and the Duchess around the Mill and gardens, where they met volunteers, local school children and grain suppliers. In the café they met the rest of the guests before trying their hands at kneading bread. After unveiling a plaque to commemorate the visit, they met some of the Craft Shop’s artists, then went for a walkabout on The Square.