Woods fine linen, which has flown the flag for the highest standards for the last 128 years, welcomed HRH The Princess Royal to its shop on Prince Albert Row last Wednesday as part of a much-anticipated royal visit to Harrogate.
Founded in Harrogate in 1895, running the shop located off Station Parade remains a family affair with father William Woods and daughter Sarah Woods, son-in-law Nicholas Richardson and offspring Sarah, Jennifer and Jonathan all involved.
Hopes had been high originally that a member of the Royal Family would visit the iconic Harrogate shop back in 2020 to help mark the shop’s 125th anniversary.
Then the pandemic struck.
But the wait was more than worth it as Princess Anne showed in conversation with staff at the independent business that she was fully aware of Woods’ reputation for scrupulous attention to detail, quality and a profound knowledge of linens.
"The visit was a truly memorable occasion," said William Woods, who is a member of the elite British Institute of Interior Design.
"The Princess Royal was supportive of everything we stand for as a family business, especially that sustainability is at the heart of everything we do.
"Quality and sustainability has always been at the heart of Woods.
"We have never been part of ’the throw away society'."
Woods has a long association with the royal family going back to 1927 when the late Princess Royal, Princess Mary, who moved to Yorkshire when she married the Earl of Harewood, was a regular visitor to this unique store.
During last week’s visit to the historic shop, Princess Anne, who was accompanied by Mrs Johanna Ropner, Lord-Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, remarked on what an important service Woods continued to offer to some of the UK’s most historic homes.
Sarah Woods said: "HRH was very interested to hear about our restorative treatments for antique upholstery and also for our commitment to outstanding craftsmanship when creating our window treatments and furnishings for many period homes.
"She also revealed some interesting details about the restoration of Windsor Castle which was badly damaged by fire in 1992.”
Whether it’s household linens, bathroom towels or beds, upholstery, decorative plasterwork or curtains, Woods is renowned internationally for its commitment to beauty and quality based on knowledge and expertise.
Mr Woods thanked Princess Anne for the visit, presenting the royal guest with one of his company’s fine linen dishcloths, as well as a luxury pillow.
He also gave her a copy of both volumes of Wells and Swells: The Golden Age of Harrogate Spa, 1842–1923, written by the late Malcolm Neesam, a great friend and respected local historian.
Last week’s visit by The Princess Royal included two other locations in Harrogate.
In her role as patron of the UK’s two Police Treatment Centres, Princess Anne also visited the new clinical services wing at St Andrews Police Treatment Centre located on Harlow Moor Road.
Last but not least, after a gap of 30 years the royal visitor returned to Starbeck charity Claro Enterprises, the Harrogate-based charity which offers support and voluntary real work opportunities to adults with mental health conditions.