It appears being royal does not stop you having an eye for a bargain, as the Duchess of Gloucester proved on a visit to Helston last week.

Showing the same love of shopping as many women, the Duchess Birgitte indulged in a spot of impromptu retail therapy when she popped into organic children’s wear company Frugi after her official tour of Origin Coffee factory, next door on the Water-ma-Trout industrial estate.

The Duchess, who is married to the Queen’s first cousin Prince Richard, picked up a few pieces from the company’s outlet store, selling discounted items, designed for a baby boy – although it is not known whether the lucky recipient will be the UK’s most famous baby of the time, Prince George.

She said the clothes would be for her grandchildren, although currently she has two granddaughters, suggesting a grandson could be in the offing, or that the clothes were for another famous royal yongster.

The first point the surprised staff became aware that their next customer would be rather more high profile than many was when her bodyguard came in and asked for the office dog to be restrained while the Duchess shopped.

Francesca Martin, who served the Duchess along with a colleague, said: “It was a bit of a shock. She was very nice and polite and bought a few items, she said for her grandchildren. She also took a catalogue.”

In what was to prove a lucrative few minutes for the company, one of the bodyguards also took home a purchase.

Francesca, who had just returned to work from holiday and admitted feeling a little underdressed in her flip flops and three-quarter length trousers, added: “I thought, do I curtsey or not, but she was lovely and very unassuming. It was a very impromptu visit but it was great.”

The visit came about after the Duchess asked Origin Coffee owner Tom Sobey, who welcomed the royal on an official visit, what other businesses were on the estate.

“It was nice that she wanted to come across and that she spent some money with us. It was lovely,” added Francesca.