A FARMER has recalled the times he met the Duke of Edinburgh in Windsor – and at his home farm Blaenannerch.

Phil Reed, of Rhosygadair Fawr, was one of 86 farmers who applied to purchase 186 Ayrshire dairy cattle kept on the royal farm in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

It was the first time The Queen and Prince Phillip had put cattle on the market, but a decision was taken for the farm to go organic, and in future only Jerseys would be kept there.

The applicants were whittled down to a shortlist of four in 2007, and each interviewed to ascertain whether they were suitable to take over the cattle.

Eventually Phil was given the nod to purchase the herd, including two bulls.

"The Ayrshires Society rang up and asked me 'did I want to buy some of the royal cows?,' he told BBC Wales,

"I said 'yes, I wouldn't mind having half a dozen' and he said 'oh no, Phil, they've got to go in one packet'.

"I said it was too many cows, and then you start to think... I phoned him back and said I'd be interested in having a look at them."

Phil made the trip to Windsor with a friend and placed a bid.

On a second trip to the estate he met the duke: "He jumped out of the Range Rover and we shook hands.

"He said 'you've got the royal consent, the cows are yours'."

Then, in May 2008, Prince Philip was flown by helicopter to West Wales Airport at Aberporth, Ceredigion, to see the cows in their new home, about a mile-and-a-half away from the airport.

"He went into the milking parlour and round the fields looking at the cows," said Mr Reed.

"It was a privilege to have him on the yard. He was really down to earth.

“You wouldn't think he was a duke. He sat here in the kitchen drinking tea and eating scones."

Descendants from the cows remain on the farm today.

"They're all pedigrees," said Mr Reed.

"The daughters and granddaughters are here... I can still say I bought the Queen's cows."

Asked by the Tivyside at the time how much he had paid for the cattle, Phil replied: "That's between me and The Queen."