PRINCE Charles has chatted and joked with mill workers during a "once in a lifetime" visit to Guiseley today.

The Prince of Wales was given a tour of Abraham Moon & Sons' base, on Netherfield Road.

He was greeted warmly by the company's management, representatives from the Campaign for Wool - which he launched in 2010 - and a lineup of staff.

A group of residents with balloons and flags had gathered opposite the mill's main entrance to cheer on the Royal visitor, too.

The Prince was treated to a full tour of the historic premises - the firm was established in 1837 - during which he stopped frequently to talk to a number of the 230-strong workforce.

Abraham Moon & Sons' Managing Director, John Walsh, said: "It's been a brilliant day, fantastic, and a great honour.

"Prince Charles is the Campaign for Wool's patron and they were organising a visit to Yorkshire and chose us, hopefully, because they recognised us as the premier wool manufacturer in the region.

"We're also a fully vertical mill* and have 230 people here, so there was plenty for him to see.

"It has been a great occasion and put a smile on a lot of people's faces."

Weaving Shed manager Nick Kane was among the staff who enjoyed a word with the Prince, while giving him an up-close look at a weaving machine.

He said: "He asked me how long I've worked here, which is 32 years, and looked at me a bit funny when I said that as if I was too young.

"I told him 'I know I don't look it, do I?' and he joked back - 'well, you do have a few grey hairs!'.

"He was also asking about the reliability of the machines, which we have running from 6am through to 10pm five days a week.

"It was good to see him. People have been excited about the visit because for most of us it's a once in a lifetime opportunity.

"It's also a really positive thing for the company and the area.

"I'd like to say a big thank you to all our staff in the weaving shed who helped get ready for the Royal visit.."

Another employee who was presented to the Prince was Sylvia Schofield, a veteran of the Mending department.

She said: "It was lovely.

"He asked about my job, which I've been doing here for 39 years and have seen a lot of changes.

"I was a bit nervous about meeting Prince Charles but he was very relaxed and immediately put me at my ease."

'Royalty' of a different kind was also present in the form of Blur bass player and Campaign for Wool supporter Alex James.

One of the 'princes' of Britpop in the 1990s, James used the opportunity to promote the campaign's work.

Prince Charles, meanwhile, concluded his visit with a cup of tea in the company's main office, where he chatted to more employees and signed the Visitors Book.

He was presented with gifts including some Commonwealth Tweed - made from 'Commonwealth Wool' from four different countries - before parting to a round of applause.

*The Guiseley site is the last such mill, where raw wool is turned into finished fabric, in England. Its customers including Laura Ashley, Marks and Spencer and Prince Charles' own, fundraising, Highgrove Shop.