PRINCESS Anne visited traditional family-owned weaving mill Marton Mills near Otley on Tuesday.

Marton Mills, which is based at Pool Road in Pool-in-Wharfedale, is known for its stock-supported range of pure wool tartans, Shetland tweeds and wool-blend fabrics. 

Ilkley Gazette: Princess Anne speaks with a worker during her tour of Marton Mills.Princess Anne speaks with a worker during her tour of Marton Mills. (Image: UGC)

During the visit, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, who is president of the UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT), was given a tour of the Marton Mills facility, where she gained insights into every stage of the manufacturing process, from yarn preparation to warping and weaving.

She witnessed first-hand the craftsmanship and dedication of Marton Mills' workforce, many of whom have spent their lives in the textile industry.

Ilkley Gazette: Princess Anne is shown fabrics by workers at Marton Mills.Princess Anne is shown fabrics by workers at Marton Mills. (Image: UGC)

The tour provided a comprehensive overview of Marton Mills' commitment to quality, sustainability and innovation.

One of the highlights of the visit was the presentation of a Service to Industry Award to chairman Duncan Watts, who has been working in the British textile industry for over 50 years. 

Laura Watts, managing director of Marton Mills, said: "Duncan, my father has been an inspiration to us all at the mill. He paved the way for Marton Mills and has been the foundation of our success. We are thrilled that he received an award to recognise his outstanding contribution to the industry.”

Ilkley Gazette: Princess Anne presents an award to Marton Mills chairman Duncan Watts.Princess Anne presents an award to Marton Mills chairman Duncan Watts. (Image: UGC)

“It was such an honour and pleasure to welcome Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to Marton Mills. We are very fortunate that she is so supportive of our industry to help us raise the profile of British textiles, where raw materials are ethically sourced and quality fabric is sustainably made."

Additionally, Her Royal Highness learned about Marton Mills' plans for increased sustainability, including more solar panels on the warehouse roof.

These initiatives underscore Marton Mills' commitment to reducing its environmental impact while continuing to uphold the highest standards of craftsmanship and quality.

The Royal Visit forms part of UKFT’s mission to support the sustainable growth of the UK fashion and textile industry.

Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT, said: "We were truly honoured to introduce Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to the team at Marton Mills. Her visit not only recognises the rich heritage and craftsmanship that defines our industry but also highlights the importance of British textile manufacturing on the global stage.

"The firm is a great example of a UK company continuing a tradition of excellence that spans generations and showcasing the best of British craftsmanship to the world."