Prince Charles' official visit to open the newly re-furbished Fortnum & Mason store in London's Piccadilly on Thursday proved to be a particularly tasty one. The heir to the throne licked his lips with relish after he was given some of his own Highrove mutton to try in the food and drink hall and seemed anxious that the staff found it to be as good as he did. "Are you happy with the quality?" he asked them.

The 300-year-old luxury store, which the Prince described as "one of the great British institutions", still supplies groceries to the royal household. These include Christmas puddings, which Fortum's has supplied since 1707 when co-founder William Fortnum was appointed a footman in the household of Queen Anne.

Addressing the 1,000 invited guests and staff, Charles joked, "moonlighting from Buckingham Palace obviously pays!".

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The Prince, who unveiled a plaque to declare the refubished store officially open, spent time chatting to staff. Fortnum's has been linked to the royal family since it was founded in the 18th centuryPhoto: © Rex
Photo: ©
During his visit Charles also tried some of his own Highgrove produce in the food hall. "He was very interested in locally produced food and organic labels," explained managing director Beverley Aspinall Photo: © PA