By Rory Murphy
The Duke of Cambridge has declared “you can taste the girders in it” while taking a sip of Irn-Bru during a factory visit with the Queen.
William – who is known as the Earl of Strathearn in Scotland – joined his grandmother at AG Barr’s factory near Glasgow and officially opened the company’s new process facility.
After touring the plant with the Queen, the Prince was offered a drink and was asked by commercial director Jonathan Kemp if he had tried Irn-Bru when he was a student at the University of St Andrews in Fife.
“Not St Andrews,” he replied, but added that Irn-Bru was often a part of lunches during his time in the armed forces, and after raising his glass and sipping he said it was “delicious”.
William was intrigued when upstream manager Colin Reilly brought over a small jar containing the clear essence of Irn-Bru – with the recipe a secret only known to three people.
After taking a long sniff, the Duke said: “I’m trying to guess what’s in it but that’s quite hard, isn’t it?”
Mr Reilly said: “I’d love to tell you,” and William smiled as he replied: “This is a closely guarded secret.”
Irn-Bru was launched in 1901 and has become a key brand in Scotland, rivalling whisky as the country’s national drink.The Queen and the Duke met employees and was given an overview of the history of the company.
The Queen is carrying out a series of events, including a visit to HM Naval Base Clyde, over the next four days with members of her family as part of her traditional trip to Scotland known as Holyrood Week.
The 95-year-old, who has continued with her duties as head of state despite grieving for her late husband, walked gingerly from point to point on her tour of the factory.
She is staying at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, her official residence in Scotland.
As she arrived at the palace the Queen was greeted with the Ceremony of the Keys which saw the monarch handed the keys of the city and welcomed to “your ancient and hereditary kingdom of Scotland” by Edinburgh Lord Provost Frank Ross.
She is symbolically offered the keys to the city by the Lord Provost and tradition dictates that the Queen then returns them, entrusting their safekeeping to Edinburgh’s elected officials.
The Queen inspected the Guard of Honour on the forecourt of the Palace and met with local government key workers, speaking to them about their roles during the pandemic.
The Queen will be joined later in the week by her daughter Anne, the Princess Royal.
Holyrood Week, also known as Royal Week, was cancelled last year because of the pandemic.
This year, in line with Covid guidelines, traditional events hosting thousands of people such as the garden party at Holyroodhouse will not take place.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Buckingham Palace emphasised the Queen’s long-standing links to Scotland.
It said: “Tomorrow, The Queen will arrive in Scotland for #RoyalWeek2021 Royal Week, or ‘Holyrood Week’, takes place each Summer as The Queen and Members of the Royal Family undertake visits across Scotland celebrating Scottish culture, achievement and communities.
“Her Majesty is connected to Scotland by ancestry and deeply held affection. As well as spending family summers at Balmoral Castle, The Queen has visited almost every area of Scotland from the Outer Hebrides to Dumfries, meeting Scots from all walks of life.”
Meanwhile, a new coin to commemorate the life of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has been unveiled by the Chancellor today.
The special edition £5 coin features an original portrait of The Duke to celebrate his remarkable life.
The coin’s design was approved by The Duke before his death in April this year and is being launched on Armed Forces Day 2021.
The Royal Mint will also make a £50,000 donation to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to support its important community work in the UK and internationally.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “This coin is a fitting tribute to The Duke of Edinburgh, who moved and inspired so many people around the world with his decades of service both to the nation and Her Majesty The Queen.
“I’m proud to unveil the coin on Armed Forces Day, considering his distinguished naval career and unwavering dedication to our Monarch and to his Royal duties, and it is only right that he and the Queen are depicted together on both sides of it.”
Anne Jessopp, Chief Executive of The Royal Mint, said: “Since the passing of The Duke of Edinburgh in April, many have commented that he led a life well lived. He was the longest serving consort in British history, and patron or president to over 750 organisations – including The Royal Mint Advisory Committee.
“The Royal Mint has marked significant Royal events for centuries and is honoured to unveil an original new coin which celebrates the life and legacy of a remarkable man. It feels fitting that this coin – which was personally approved by the Prince – will also support the work of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards. The Awards have benefited millions of young people since they were formed in 1956, and are perhaps Prince Philip’s greatest legacy.”
Ruth Marvel, CEO of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards said: “This wonderful tribute will help us build on The Duke of Edinburgh’s legacy so more young people can start their DofE Award journey and develop the skills, resilience and self-belief they will need to successfully navigate the challenges of adult life.”
The coin will be available from the Royal Mint website today, as well as post offices around the United Kingdom and special stockists across the Commonwealth and worldwide.
The design was personally approved by The Duke of Edinburgh in 2008 and drawn by the acclaimed artist Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS.
The Duke of Edinburgh was the longest serving consort in British history, and for decades provided steadfast support to Her Majesty The Queen and The Royal Family.
The coin bears the inscription “HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh 1921-2021” and will be struck by the Royal Mint. The Duke of Edinburgh served as the President of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee for 47 years.
The coin is legal tender but has been designed as a limited-edition collectable or gift and will not be entering general circulation.