A Wembley-linked Covid-19 outbreak kept the Earl and Countess of Forfar away from town textile firm Don and Low this week.
The royal couple had been due to tour the major employer as the last stop on their Monday itinerary.
However, the Glamis Road event was cancelled at the last-minute because of a coronavirus outbreak now affecting more than 20 employees.
Half a dozen staff members have tested positive and 15 more are self-isolating.
Ironically, Prince Edward and Sophie would have been brought to date with the company’s huge production levels of PPE material which have been part of a major investment for the historic business.
Company HR manager Paul Leigh – one of the staff self-isolating – said they were extremely disappointed not to be able to host the royal guests.
“The Earl and Countess had been coming to see the face mask production line,” he said.
“We had been working for two to three weeks to prepare for their visit.
“Unfortunately, starting on Friday, things began to develop around this.
“That continued through Saturday and Sunday.”
He said there were two or three apprentices who had either been at Wembley for the England v Scotland Euro Championship clash, or been associating with supporters who were at the game.
“They reported positive and before we knew it we had a number of people from the engineering department who were self-isolating.”
Mr Leigh added: “We simply felt it was prudent to cancel the visit in the circumstances.
“It has mainly been confined to the nonwovens engineering department.”
Originally founded in 1792, the textile firm has countered a fall in demand for its more traditional woven products with increased emphasis and investment in nonwovens.
It includes material used in PPE equipment.
Last year, the company revealed a consultation around the future of 70 jobs due to the slump in demand for traditional core product such as carpet backing.
It was countered by the announcement of around 30 roles in nonwoven production.
The Scottish Government previously agreed to provide the business with up to £3.6 million towards a specialised machine for the production of material to be used in respirators, costing £4.5 million.
Accounts issued last October showed turnover at the firm rose to £66.4m for the year ending December 31 2019 – an increase of 2.4% from 2018.
Don and Low has made capital investment of more than £20m over the past three years.
The firm – a wholly owned subsidiary of Thrace Plastics SA – said that was part of a strategic plan to take the group on a “sustainable and profitable path”.
Monday’s visit saw Prince Edward and Sophie back in the burgh for the second time since the Queen granted her youngest child the ancient title for his 55th birthday in 2019.
Their programme began at Forfar Golf Club where the Earl and Countess planted a tree as part of Cunninghill’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
They then visited theatrical supplier Utopia Costumes before two town centre stops at Voluntary Action Angus and the S-Mart social supermarket.
“We are obviously very disappointed the visit did not go ahead,” said Mr Leigh.
“But we did not wish to take any possible risk in the current circumstances and hopefully we will be able to welcome them to the factory at some point in the future.”