Charles hails award-winning businesses at Windsor Castle reception

Leading companies that have been recognised by the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise have been celebrated at a royal reception.

The Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal and the Countess of Wessex were among the members of the monarchy who welcomed the organisations to Windsor Castle.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are among the most prestigious business accolades in the country, with winners able to use the emblem for five years, and many report it boosts their profile and access to new markets.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise
The Prince of Wales congratulated winners (Chris Jackson/PA)

Charles, who celebrates his 73rd birthday on Sunday, received an early birthday card from Jo Taylor, owner of Reach and Rescue, a company making telescopic rescue poles for first responders.

Ms Taylor, whose company was recognised in the innovation category, said: “The prince laughed and said, ‘You’ve been doing your research on me’, and he slipped the card into his left pocket.

“The award is real recognition for what we make and it has saved so many lives, that’s the important thing. People go into shock when they enter cold water and our poles are life savers.”

Among the guests were representatives from 205 business winners from 2021 and 220 recognised last year for their contributions in four categories: international trade, innovation, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise
The Prince of Wales shakes hands with Secretary of State for Business Kwasi Kwarteng (Chris Jackson/PA)

Charles, Anne and Sophie were joined by the Duke of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra to mingle with the company bosses, as did Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

Among the firms recognised were Luminary Bakery, a London-based baking business and cafe established in 2014 to help women in deprived areas of the capital through a range of issues including long-term unemployment and domestic abuse.

Another was the Community Shop in Barnsley, South Yorkshire – a social enterprise offering surplus food from big chain shops and supermarkets to disadvantaged customers at discounted prices – and Glencraft Mattresses, a Scottish firm based in Aberdeen for more than 170 years, which uses sustainable, ethically sourced materials.