Veterans say the Princess Royal noticed a “big difference” at Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory as she officially reopened the facility following a two-year refurbishment.
Anne toured the Edinburgh factory and its new exhibition space, chatted to staff and visited Poppyscotland’s mobile museum during her visit on Thursday.
David Adamson, a wreath maker and tour guide who served for 22 years with the Royal Highland Fusiliers, showed Anne round the factory and introduced the team.
He said: “She was very interested in everything, and took the time to speak to as many of the guys as possible. She also noticed the big difference from last time she visited.”
Founded in 1926, the factory will now reopen to visitors and school groups following the refurbishment, which showcased its history and heritage.
Thirty-three veterans work in the factory on Logie Green Road and make more than three million poppies each year for the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal, as well as wreaths and other tributes.
Brigadier John Reid Thomson, the deputy lord lieutenant of Edinburgh who is also chair of the factory, was hand to meet Anne, along with Poppyscotland president Rear Admiral Mark Beverstock, Helen Owen, chair of Poppyscotland, and factory manager Major Charlie Pelling.
She also met Summer Saunders and Kate Miller, both 17, from Ayr, who designed a silk red poppy dress as part of the “Junk Kouture” sustainability project.
Sophie Henderson, 14, from Ayrshire, was also present. She won Poppyscotland’s 2020 poetry contest with her entry In Future Fields, a response to John McCrae’s 1915 In Flanders Fields poem.
Anne unveiled a plaque marking the reopening of the facility and was then presented with framed copies of both poems.
Poppyscotland director Austin Hardie said: “We were honoured to welcome Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to officially reopen our newly refurbished factory and campus on Thursday.
“This is the culmination of two years of hard work to ensure we have a modern facility dedicated to supporting Scotland’s veterans’ community.
“We are very proud of our heritage, and this marks an exciting new chapter in the factory’s 97-year history. We are looking forward to welcoming school groups and the wider public to the factory and exhibition space, telling the story of the poppy to new generations.”