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Queen honours best of British at business awards ceremony

Published 14/07/2016

The Queen greets guests at a reception at Buckingham Palace for winners of The Queen's Awards for Enterprise
The Queen greets guests at a reception at Buckingham Palace for winners of The Queen's Awards for Enterprise

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have met recipients of the most prestigious business accolades during a reception at Buckingham Palace.

Winners of The Queen's Awards for Enterprise 2016 - which recognise excellence in international trade, innovation and sustainable development - were joined by the Queen at the celebration on Thursday evening.

More than 500 guests, including representatives from 254 winning companies, were at the event.

Newly-appointed business, energy and industrial strategy secretary Greg Clark was among the first guests to be greeted by the Queen and said he was "thrilled" with his new cabinet role.

Mr Clark told the Press Association: "It's a wonderful opportunity to bring together energy, climate change, industrial strategy, business support and science.

"The combination is a real UK powerhouse and I'm tremendously honoured to be leading it. And what better first engagement than to celebrate the success of UK companies."

He said that British business was "incredibly strong" and that the awards demonstrated the "entrepreneurialism" that the country is famous for around the world.

The winners of the award, who were announced on the Queen's birthday in April, included plant machine maker JCB.

Buta Atwall, director of compact products for the company, spoke to the Queen about the the business which was receiving its 30th award.

He said that being a winner showed that the company was "doing the right thing" and it was a "privilege" to be at the Palace.

There were also five individual recipients of The Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion who were recognised for their outstanding contributions to promoting and enhancing enterprise.

The Princess Royal, Princess Eugenie, the Duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent also attended the celebration.

Since the creation of the awards in 1965, more than 6,500 businesses have been recognised.

Winners this year ranged from Lily's Kitchen - the first natural meat-free, grain-free dry food supplier for pets - to Vegware, a company which creates compostable packaging.

The accolades, which were known as The Queen's Awards to Industry, were first presented in 1966 and are overseen by The Queen's Awards Office at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

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