King Charles III was greeted with cheers on his historic first visit to Bradford as monarch.
The King kicked off a two-day trip to Yorkshire with a tour of Morrisons head office in Thornbury.
Hundreds of staff watched the royal visit from balconies and stairwells, shocking the king as roars of excitement rang out from above.
King Charles III was received by Ed Anderson, HM Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, and his wife Heather before meeting Morrisons Managing Director David Potts.
Imran Hussain, MP for Bradford East, was one of the first people to meet the King at Morrisons headquarters.
“This is fantastic news for Bradford,” he said.
“It is an absolute privilege to welcome the King here today.
“Bradford is a fantastic place which has rightly been crowned a city of culture, our heritage, being the capital of curry, the festival of literature, the list goes on.”
Morrisons started life in Bradford as an egg and butter stall in 1899.
It has since grown into a well-known food retailer, wholesaler and producer, with its head office employing over 2,000 people in the region.
The royal looked at Morrisons’ agriculture, sustainability and retail initiatives, including its rare breeds programme, and looked at new carbon-neutral eggs.
He saw chickens fed insects as part of a food cycle, instead of soy.
Describing what it was like to meet the royal, Sophie Throup, who helped roll out the ‘planet friendly’ eggs, said: “Incredibly special. It’s a really proud moment for him to come to Morrisons, but we work very hard with the farmers who supply us.
“You’ve heard of the lungs of the world, deforestation and the Amazon. We feed the chickens soybeans because it’s a very good protein and they can digest it very well, so it’s not easy to keep farmers away from them. The production of these insects is a very good alternative.”
The King met representatives of the Prince’s Countryside Fund before touring a mock fresh produce counters in Morrisons’ Market Street.
Her Majesty took the time to chat with Morrison’s skilled butchers, bakers and fishmongers, as well as a group of community champions.
In the test and development kitchen to see new products, the king was greeted with a short horn prime rib roast as well as a salmon dish.
“It smells irresistible,” King told Gail Paddy, brand manager at Morrisons.
He also met the chefs behind local produce, Aagrah Foods and Yorkshire Forager cheese.
Shezan Aslam, managing director of family-owned Aagrah Foods, had the opportunity to speak to the King during his visit to Morrisons headquarters.
“It was pretty surreal actually,” the Shipley resident said.
“When I spoke to him he was very relaxed and down to earth and easy to talk to. He is very warm in his style. Everyone was smiling and happy.
“It makes me proud to be a Bradfordian because, being born and raised in Bradford, we know all the great things Bradford can do. It’s lovely that Bradford has been recognized in this way with a royal visit.”
Ms Paddy, who lives in Wetherby, said: “It was a really proud moment.
“It was a real honor.”
Mark Richmond, Senior Head of Innovation Development at Morrisons and resident of Ripon, gave advice to King Charles III on how to cook the perfect roast.
He said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“He was really engaged. He wanted to learn more about the sustainability of beef. He was really interested in all things food.”
— Natasha Meek 📰 (@journomeek) November 8, 2022
Mr Potts led the King to a podium when the monarch spontaneously shook hands with excited staff on the escalators.
Among those on the escalator was Joanne Oxley from Pudsey.
“I was slightly on the escalator so he came in front and climbed the steps. It was really privileged.
“He’s so friendly. He said it was nice to see us all.”
After a speech by Mr Potts, the King revealed a special plaque to commemorate the royal visit.
The King told Morrisons staff in his speech: ‘It has been a great pleasure to meet at least some of you and see what a remarkable operation is being carried on all over this country. And with so much effort to train apprentices and all the work that has been done by the community champions has been extremely encouraging.
“And seeing the good things you do in the communities is very special, so I can only thank you for all of that and wish you all the best in the future. And, finally, a very Merry Christmas .”
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