Sir Mark revealed he had “a lovely chat” with the Duke of Cambridge during the ceremony which he attended with his wife Yannan and parents Brian and Jennifer.
“The Prince was very humble,” he said. “He asked me what things were like in Preston and I was quite frank with him.
“I told him that people were in good spirits, but times are difficult and some people are struggling on low pay. I got the impression he was very concerned.
“He said he and Catherine would like to visit as much of the North as they could in the next year or so and he hoped that Preston would be on the itinery.”
Sir Mark, who has been MP for Preston since 2000, was made a Knight Bachelor in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List for parliamentary and political service. His investiture had to be postponed earlier in the year following an accident in which he suffered a broken pelvis.
He attended the ceremony on crutches, but was able to walk into the hall unaided.
Later he said: “It was an absolutely brilliant day. I couldn’t have wished for it to be any better.
“There were about 80 people receiving awards at the ceremony, but fortunately I was third on, behind Sir Mark Lyall Grant, who received the Knight Grand Cross, the highest diplomatic honour, and Lady Antonia Fraser, the historian, who received the Companion of Honour, the highest civilian honour.
“So I wasn’t on my feet for too long.”