CROWDS of well-wishers were hoping for a window of sunshine in today's rain as they prepared to welcome the Princess Royal on her second visit to Malvern this year.

Princess Anne was due to tour the Malvern Water factory at lunchtime to mark the 150th anniversary of the Royal household's favourite tipple.

The natural mineral water was first bottled in 1851 when J Schweppe & Co supplied the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace. It was given a Royal Warrant in 1909.

"Even today, the Queen won't travel anywhere without it," said a company spokesman.

"The Princess Royal is visiting the factory today to meet the local people who supply the water that the Royal household grew up on."

The Princess was due to arrive at the factory in The Springs, Colwall, at 12.15pm for the two-hour visit.

During her time there, she was expected to hear the history of Malvern Water and the Coca Cola Company's involvement with the company over the years.

She was then set for a tour of the plant before being taken up to the famous spring, high in the Malvern Hills.

Staff were due to present her with supplies of the water and a case of commemorative glasses to mark her visit.

Today's visit will be the second trip the Princess Royal has made to Malvern in the past six months.

In April, she spent an hour at Osborne Court after unveiling the new £650,000 hydrotherapy unit and meeting patients and staff.