On September 26, 2023, The Princess of Wales had a busy day visiting manufacturers in Leeds and Lancaster. During her visit, she learned about the industry’s heritage, history, and innovation, the technical processes involved, and how vital the sector is to the UK economy. The Princess was impressed to learn how the industry is transforming to emphasize sustainable practices and how it is working with academic institutions to educate and upskill young people.
Interestingly, the visit also held a personal element for the Princess, as her paternal ancestors owned the woolen manufacturer and merchant William Lupton & Co., based in Leeds.
The Princess of Wales participated in a family portage session on September 27, 2023, at a specialist center in Sittingbourne, Kent. The session emphasized supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities and their families. The Portage service, available from birth to pre-school age, provides academic support to such children and families. Specially trained Portage practitioners traditionally support families with home visits but also work in early years settings and community groups.
The Kent Portage Service organized the session, which included seven children with a range of special needs, including social communication difficulties, Autism, and Down Syndrome. The Princess met each child, one of their parents, and a Portage practitioner who supports each family.
National Portage Association Chair, Janet Rickman, said: “Her Royal Highness’ visit shines a vital spotlight on the National Portage Association. We are so privileged that The Princess was able to meet some of our Portage families and spend time learning about the work we do. This year is particularly important for us as it’s our 40th year of the National Portage Association so it’s wonderful that we can showcase Portage through the Shaping Us campaign and make sure that any parent with a child not meeting their developmental milestones knows how to access Portage support.”