Stunning sunshine and the crowning of supreme champions brought this year’s Great Yorkshire Show to a close – after it had enjoyed a fourth day for the first time in history.

The show was adapted this year to be covid safe, with capacity reduced to meet strict Government guidelines. It was sold out before it started, with a 26,000 capacity per day.

But show director Charles Mills said it had been a ‘heart-warming event’. “It’s been an important step back to normality for everyone and I think we appreciated it all the more after the most difficult 18 months,” he said.

“To welcome our Patron, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall was a day I shall never forget and was just the tonic we all needed, adding that extra sparkle to the show which we all wanted so much.”

Charles and Camilla spent hours touring the show in sweltering conditions on Thursday.

It was the largest public gathering – with some 20,000 visitors – the couple have walked among since the pandemic started.

Charles looked happy to stop and chat to visitors during his three-hour tour of the huge site.

He spoke to Hannah Richardson, from Ripon, who brought her eight-month-old baby Phoebe to the show.

Afterwards, Mrs Richardson said: “I can’t believe she has met the prince – this is the first big event she has been to because of lockdown.”

And Charles was given a warm welcome by horse trader and father-of-six Red Lee Smith, who spotted the prince and gave him a booming hello as he walked by.

The gypsy from Dublin is currently staying in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, and told Charles he was visiting the show with his family.

After asking: “Can I get a photo with Mr Charles?” Mr Smith told the prince: “You’re looking well.”

Charles replied: “Not too bad yourself.”

Afterwards, Mr Smith said: “He’s all right. I’ve met him before. I’ve met Harry a few times too.”

The prince stopped for selfies with some groups and chatted to fruit seller Ollie Fuller, who gave him a punnet of strawberries from Thirsk, North Yorkshire.

Chief Executive Nigel Pulling, of Yorkshire Agricultural Society which organises the show, added: “It’s always a huge amount of work to stage this event and this year, because of the pandemic, it’s been all the more challenging.

“For the first time we understandably had to cap numbers so we are sorry to those who couldn’t get a ticket and we hope you will be back next year.

He added: “We’ve worked closely with North Yorkshire County Council Public Health and Harrogate Borough Council to meet strict criteria to make the event Covid safe and it was terrific to see so many people having such a great day out.”

There was fierce competition in the judging rings on Friday, the show’s last day, with winners crowned for Best Pig in Show, Supreme Beef, Supreme In-Hand equine, Supreme Sheep and Blythewood Beef Pairs.

The ceremonial President’s Handover then took place in the main ring with Sir William Worsley officially handing over to Margaret Chapman, the show’s chief cattle steward since 2008, for next year.

The Chapman family has been part of the show for over 100 years, and Margaret introduced the Blythewood Pairs Competition in the cattle section to find the best matching pair of animals from each breed. It’s now one of the most prestigious competitions in the show.

The dates for next year’s 163rd Great Yorkshire Show will be Tuesday July 12 to Thursday July 14, 2022.