Queen and William introduced to Irn-Bru as Scotland tour begins: 'Very good actually'

·Royal Correspondent
·4 min read

Watch: The Queen and Prince William visit Irn-Bru factory

The Queen stopped off at the Irn-Bru factory on her first trip to Scotland since her husband died, as she takes on engagements for Royal Week. 

The monarch was joined by her grandson Prince William as she was introduced to the other national drink at the AG Barr factory in Cumbernauld.

William, who is the Earl of Strathearn when in Scotland, took a sip of the orange drink as the Queen watched on. 

He will join her throughout Monday's engagements but will head back to London in time for the unveiling of the statue of his mother on Thursday. 

Princess Anne, the Queen's daughter, will join her later in the week. 

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she arrives for a visit to AG Barr's factory in Cumbernauld, east of Glasgow, where the Irn-Bru drink is manufactured on June 28, 2021. - The Queen is in Scotland for Royal Week where she will be undertaking a range of engagements celebrating community, innovation and history. (Photo by Andrew Milligan / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW MILLIGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The Queen at AG Barr's factory in Cumbernauld, east of Glasgow, where the Irn-Bru drink is manufactured. (Andrew Milligan/AFP)
Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to AG Barr's factory in Cumbernauld, where the Irn-Bru drink is manufactured, as part of her traditional trip to Scotland for Holyrood Week. Picture date: Monday June 28, 2021.
The Queen next to the company signs at the AG Barr factory in Cumbernauld. (PA Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II tours the production line during a visit to AG Barr's factory in Cumbernauld, east of Glasgow, where the Irn-Bru drink is manufactured on June 28, 2021. - The Queen is in Scotland for Royal Week where she will be undertaking a range of engagements celebrating community, innovation and history. (Photo by Andrew Milligan / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW MILLIGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The Queen toured the production line at the factory near Glasgow. (Andrew Milligan/AFP)

It's the Queen's first trip over the border since her husband the Duke of Edinburgh died in April 2021. They had been there to visit Balmoral in the summer, returning to Windsor via Sandringham.

Since her husband's death the Queen, 95, has been carrying out a variety of engagements, including some in-person, but this is her longest stretch of visits since before the pandemic.

William, 39, joined his grandmother on the tour of the factory, stopping to take a sip of the drink before remarking it was "very good actually" and joking "you can taste the girders in it".

He also called it "delicious".

The Queen also asked about the difference between two of the types of Irn-Bru she was shown, and was told they were different recipes.

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (R) samples Irn-Bru as he and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II  visit AG Barr's factory in Cumbernauld, east of Glasgow, where the Irn-Bru drink is manufactured on June 28, 2021. - The Queen is in Scotland for Royal Week where she will be undertaking a range of engagements celebrating community, innovation and history. (Photo by Andrew Milligan / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW MILLIGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William took a sip of the drink but the Queen did not venture a taste. (Andrew Milligan/AFP)
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (R) samples Irn-Bru as he and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II  visit AG Barr's factory in Cumbernauld, east of Glasgow, where the Irn-Bru drink is manufactured on June 28, 2021. - The Queen is in Scotland for Royal Week where she will be undertaking a range of engagements celebrating community, innovation and history. (Photo by Andrew Milligan / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW MILLIGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William remarked that it was 'quite nice, actually' after tasting. (Andrew Milligan/AFP)

Commercial director Jonathan Kemp asked the prince if he had the drink, said to be a good hangover cure, while a student at the University of St Andrews.

William said "not St Andrews" but told him that the drink featured more during lunches in the armed forces.

The exact recipe of the brightly coloured drink remains a closely guarded secret, but that didn't stop William having a go.

Colin Reilly, upstream manager, brought over a small jar containing the clear essence of Irn-Bru, the exact details of which are only known by 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?"

Reilly said: "I’d love to tell you," and William smiled as he replied: "This is a closely guarded secret."

The Duke of Cambridge, known as the Earl of Strathearn in Scotland, during a visit to AG Barr's factory in Cumbernauld, where the drink is manufactured, as part of Queen Elizabeth II's traditional trip to Scotland for Holyrood Week. Picture date: Monday June 28, 2021.
The Duke of Cambridge, known as the Earl of Strathearn in Scotland, signed a visitors book as the visit came to a close. (PA Images)
The Duke of Cambridge, known as the Earl of Strathearn in Scotland, during a visit to AG Barr's factory in Cumbernauld, where the drink is manufactured, as part of Queen Elizabeth II's traditional trip to Scotland for Holyrood Week. Picture date: Monday June 28, 2021.
William smelt the Irn-Bru essence in the hope of working out what was in it. (PA Images)

Royal Week, also called Holyrood Week, is tradition for the Queen but had to be cancelled last year.

In a series of tweets Buckingham Palace sought to emphasise her link to the nation.

It said on Sunday evening: "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."

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II unveils a plaque during a visit to AG Barr's factory in Cumbernauld, east of Glasgow, where the Irn-Bru drink is manufactured on June 28, 2021. - The Queen is in Scotland for Royal Week where she will be undertaking a range of engagements celebrating community, innovation and history. (Photo by Andrew Milligan / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW MILLIGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The Queen unveiled a plaque during the visit to AG Barr's factory in Cumbernauld. (Andrew Milligan/AFP)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II tours the production line during a visit to AG Barr's factory in Cumbernauld, east of Glasgow, where the Irn-Bru drink is manufactured on June 28, 2021. - The Queen is in Scotland for Royal Week where she will be undertaking a range of engagements celebrating community, innovation and history. (Photo by Andrew Milligan / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW MILLIGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The Queen has not been to Scotland since last year, and not since her husband died. (Andrew Milligan/AFP)

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AG Barr has been making soft drinks in Scotland for 140 years, and its other brands include Rubicon.

Buckingham Palace said of the Queen's first stop on her Scotland tour: "During the visit, Her Majesty and The Earl of Strathearn were given an overview of the history of the company before meeting employees to learn about the company’s place in local community life. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also viewed products created at the factory before signing their visitor’s book.

"The Queen is in Scotland for Royal Week where she will be undertaking a range of engagements celebrating community, innovation and history. The Queen will visit businesses, charities and cultural institutions that highlight the pioneering work taking place to further community engagement, education, technology and efforts to combat climate change."

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