Toys lovingly handmade in a seafront flat in Bridlington have been passed on to Prince Charles as early Christmas presents for his grandchildren, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
The prince appeared delighted as he was given two sock monkeys at a function last week.
The stuffed animals were presented to him by the London Sock Company at a party at Spencer House last week, but they were actually made by Steph Sykes, who sells dozens of the gifts from her home in Bridlington.
She runs her monkey business from her flat in Alexandra Court and admits: “The last week has been surreal and since people found out my phone has been going crazy.”
“The London Sock Company approached me about making the gifts for Prince Charles but I was sworn to secrecy.”
She has given sock monkeys to celebrities including Spice Girl Mel C and former Formula One driver David Coulthard.
And an auction in aid of Great Ormond Street earlier this year saw household names like Mary Berry, Dame Shirley Bassey and Roger Daltrey sign items she had made.
But the Royal connection came about because of links to another celebrity, model David Gandy. He launched a range of luxury socks last year and Steph managed to get one of the gift sets sent to her.
She created three sock monkeys from Gandy’s clothes, he later signed them and they were auctioned off for £3,500, to raise money for Style For Soldiers, a charity he supports.
The London Sock Company asked her to make the gifts for the young Royals and they were handed to the Prince of Wales at the Style for Soldiers Christmas Reunion Party at Spencer House.
Steph said she had never imagined her craft project would reach such high profile owners,
“We moved to Yorkshire this time last year, the week before Christmas, but I have been making the monkeys full time for about six years,” she said.
“I was made redundant from my job at a florist’s shop in Cornwall. There is not a great deal of work down there unless people are looking for seasonal staff.
“I had been making the sock monkeys for friends and family and thought I would give it a go. I started selling them to tourists at craft fayres and I have never looked back.”
Each monkey takes around an hour to make and when they are not being enhanced by celebrities, they sell for around £10.
“In the summer I got a message asking how long it would take to make 90 monkeys. The London Sock Company sent me 90 pairs of socks and I made the monkeys for the Style for Soldiers Day Out event,” said Steph.
Sock monkeys originated in America in the 1920s but have enjoyed a renaissance in the past few years.