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Queen introduced to Irn-Bru on official trip to Scotland

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 (PA)

The Queen has been introduced to Irn-Bru as she began her first official visit to Scotland since the death of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Her Majesty started the four-day visit in Cumbernauld, a town outside Glasgow, where she was given a tour of AG Barr’s factory where the soft drink is manufactured.

She opened the factory’s new process facility and was met with employees, as well as given an overview of the history of Irn-Bru, which launched in 1901.

The drink originated from New York in 1889, under the name IRONBREW, but quickly became popular in the UK when local bottlers began selling their own versions of the beverage. It became the best-selling soft drink in Scotland, which is the only place in the world where Irn-Bru outsells Coca-Cola as the number one soft drink.

She was joined by her grandson Prince William, who is known as the Earl of Strathearn in Scotland, during the visit. William took a sip of the fizzy drink while his grandmother looked on.

The Duke of Cambridge was offered Irn-Bru after touring the plant with the Queen and was asked by commercial director Jonathan Kemp if he had tried the beverage during his student days at the University of St Andrews in Fife.

He replied: “Not St Andrews”, but added that Irn-Bru was often part of lunches during his time in the armed forces. He raised his glass and sipped it, describing the drink as “delicious”.

The Duke of Cambridge, known as the Earl of Strathearn in Scotland, tries Irn-Bru during a visit to AG Barr's factory in Cumbernauld (PA)

The Duke of Cambridge, known as the Earl of Strathearn in Scotland, tries Irn-Bru during a visit to AG Barr’s factory in Cumbernauld (PA)

William was also shown a small jar containing the clear essence of Irn-Bru, which is made with a secret recipe only known to three people.

Over the next four days, the monarch will carry out in-person engagements celebrating Scottish community, innovation and history as part of her traditional trip to Scotland for Holyrood Week.

Holyrood week, also known as Royal Week, was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Traditionally, events hosting thousands of people such as the garden party at Holyroodhouse would be held, but have been cancelled this year in line with government restrictions.

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 (PA)

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 (PA)

Buckingham Palace emphasised the Queen’s historic links to Scotland in a series of tweets on Sunday.

It said: “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.”

Additional reporting by PA

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