HIS Royal Highness the Prince of Wales arrived at the Aston Martin Lagonda Factory in St Athan on Friday February 21 driving his own bio-powered car.

The Prince purchased his Aston Martin DB6 in 1970 and modified it to run on E85 bioethanol made from by-products of the wine and cheese industries in 2008.

“The wonderful thing is I was able to drive my very old car here in my very old way and to be able to get in and out of it still – just,” the prince later remarked to an audience of giggling engineers and apprentices.

As a long-time Aston Martin enthusiast, Prince Charles visited the car maker’s new factory which is expected to create 1,000 jobs in the area.

Originally an RAF training centre, the St. Athan site began its transformation into a £50 million manufacturing facility in 2016.

The prince was welcomed upon arrival by Marek Reichman, Executive Vice President and Scott Ward, Director of Manufacturing at the factory.

He then took Aston Martin’s new SUV, the DBX, for a spin around a test track.

“He was impressed by the amount of technology in the car,” said Ian Hartley, Senior Manager of Vehicle Dynamics, who accompanied Charles on the drive.

“He is a good driver, yes. Cautious. Having owned Aston Martins, I think he knows they’re very powerful.”

The prince then took a tour of the vast factory floor where he met engineers working at various stages of the construction process.

He nodded with polite interest as he observed a matte-black car frame at the paint shop before moving on to the seat installation station.

To complete his visit, Prince Charles joined a reception in the factory’s foyer where he met a group of coy and fresh-faced apprentices.

He then struggled to place a winged badge on the bonnet of the new DBX – a moment he later described as a ‘terrible bosh.’

As a slurry of people filed into the space, Charles was welcomed to the stage by Marek Reichman where he praised the ingenuity of the factory engineers and unveiled a plaque to commemorate his visit.

“What was fascinating was to see this new SUV version of the DBX and to have a chance to drive it around, but I must say it is a great tribute to all your teamwork and expertise and your extraordinary engineering skill which has put this remarkable car together.” he said.

He continued: “I very much hope that there will be more opportunities for more people in the area to come and work here.

“I just wanted to congratulate you on what you’ve achieved so far and to wish you every possible success in the years to come. I shall watch with great interest.

“In the meantime, having probably made a terrible bosh of that Aston Martin wings on the front of the car, I shall attempt to unveil this without causing a problem, and declare the factory open.”

The prince met with flood victims in Pontypridd later that afternoon.

His trip to South Wales also included engagements at the CAF train factory in Newport, the Aston Martin Lagonda factory in St. Athan, Barry, and the British Airways Maintenance Centre in Cardiff.