The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were cheered wildly before joking and even hugging their ‘noisy’ supporters on their first joint engagement since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle quit as senior royals.
William and Kate grinned as they were swamped by well-wishers with the Duchess embracing several people in the crowd as they put on a tactile performance outside Bradford’s City Hall today.
Fans including dozens of school children handed the couple bunch-after-bunch of flowers and William gave his wife a single white rose as they got back to royal business amid the turmoil caused by Harry and Meghan’s abdication crisis.
At one point the screaming crowd was so loud the Duke beamed and said to a group: ‘Hello! You’re the noisy corner – You’re in fine voice’, sparking squeals of excitement from some women waving Union flags and clutching bouquets for him and his wife.
William and Kate visibly enjoyed their warm reception in Bradford as the storm over Harry’s decision to leave Britain for Canada rumbled on and rumours of their rift with the Sussexes.
The couple had first visited a community project that aims to strengthen bonds between grandparents and grandchildren in the West Yorkshire city. The destinations will raise eyebrows due to the upset caused to the Queen who was forced to agree to let her grandson Harry emigrate to Canada with Meghan and Archie this week.
After meeting excited crowds the Cambridges headed to British Asian restaurant chain MyLahore where Kate giggled as she made and drank a Kulfi milkshake while her husband knocked up a mango lassi, which he called ‘delicious’ as he took a sip.
Kate is handed white roses in Centenary Square in Bradford today as crowds went wild for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today
One young supporter who was waiting in the cold had a brief chat with the Duchess who then gave him a big hug, thanking him for seeing them
The Duchess complimented these children on their school uniforms and played with one girl’s hat before asking them if they were ‘freezing’
William joked with a section of the crowds that they were the ‘noisy corner’ as the people of Bradford came out in force to support the Cambridges
William and Kate were smiling and tactile with the West Yorkshire crowds who were delighted to see them there
Kate shakes hands with local children who cheered the Duchess and shouted her name as the royals were shaken by Prince Harry’s decision to walk away from life as a senior royal
Kate was giggling as she helped make kulfi milkshakes at MyLahore restaurant, which has taken inspiration from Lahore, considered the food capital of Pakistan
The future Queen then sampled the fruit of her labour and clearly enjoyed the milkshake swirled with fresh fruit
After excited scenes in Bradford’s Centenary Square, the Duke and Duchess arrived at MyLahore’s flagship restaurant in a navy blue Range Rover.
Small crowds cheered as they got out of the vehicle and a group of children waved Union flags from their pushchairs.
The couple were greeted by restaurant CEO Asghar Ali and managing director Shakoor Ahmed.
They are expected to hear about some of the charitable work that the restaurant does to support the community.
William and Kate’s first stop in the restaurant was in the kitchen, where they met students from Bradford College taking part in an apprenticeship scheme.
They then went on to make mango and kulfi milkshakes under the guidance of operations director Ishfaq Farooq.
The duke and duchess chose ice cream to add to their drinks and mixed them using blenders.
William said his milkshake was ‘delicious’ and went on to ask staff about the origin of ingredients used.
MyLahore is a British Asian restaurant that takes its inspiration from Lahore, which is known as the food capital of Pakistan.
William used a blender to make some traditional drinks while his wife laughs uproariously at his expense
William tried his wife’s handmade milkshake while Kate sampled her husband’s lassi at MyLahore in Bradford
William shared jokes with the kitchen staff and learned about some of the community work undertaken by the restaurant
Today’s visit to the West Yorkshire city was William and Kate’s first joint public engagement together since a charity event in London two months ago on November 12 for their volunteer text support service Shout.
The engagement in Bradford was announced just last week on January 8 while tensions within the Royal Family were at a high before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said one day later that they were stepping down.
It has been a tumultuous week for the royals which also saw legal documents published in the battle between Meghan and the Mail on Sunday that could lead to her father testifying against her should the case go to trial.
William and Kate will also meet families from the Older Yet Wiser project – a workshop helping grandparents to enhance their relationship with their grandchildren and giving advice on raising children in the 21st century.
The couple – who have three children, George, six, Charlotte, four, and Louis, one – will also visit young people, employers and families at projects that promote cohesion within what is one of Britain’s most diverse cities.
Kate cut a stylish figure as she mixed designer with high-street – wearing a military-style khaki coat by Alexander McQueen and a £90 printed black and white flowing dress from Zara which has since been reduced to £16.
The royal completed her outfit with a pair of £520 black block heels by Gianvito Rossi and a £550 Aspinal of London midi ‘Mayfair bag’, as well as earrings by Zeen that she wore on her royal tour of Pakistan last year.
William may have been relieved about the warm reception as the storm over his brother’s exit from Britain rumbled on
Kate smiles and waves at a group of school children who lined up to meet the Duchess of Cambridge in Bradford today
Kate smiled and laughed as she spoke to primary school children in Bradford’s Centenary Square
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Bradford City Hall today to hear about life in the city from young locals
The couple were greeted by dignitaries before going into City – Kate laughing as she and her husband took different routes up a grand central staircase.
Inside they sat down with a group of young people from across the city who have been noted for their volunteering and community work.
Sitting down on a sofa William and Kate listened intently as the teenagers introduced themselves.
They chatted at length with Caitlund Roberts, 19, who talked to them about STEM subjects and being a woman in engineering.
‘STEM is something we have been going around asking about a lot,’ said William., ‘getting girls into engineering. ‘ He asked: ‘How did you find the journey getting into it. Easy? Difficult? What more can be done?’
Caitlund told them eloquently about the ‘stigma’ she sometimes felt the profession came with for women.
There was, she said, a misnomer that women wouldn’t be good with their hands and said there was an urgent need for more apprenticeships.
Kate also chatted to Rosena Nawaz about mental health issues and asked her: ‘Do you think a lot of your friends are talking about mental health as topic of conversation? Is this something people your age are talking about? Is there a big conversation around anxiety and depression?
‘What are the services like in Bradford for mental health?’ Asked William.
He talked about the need for better ‘mental fitness’.
‘We all look after our bodies, go to the gym, keep fit. But we need to think about our mental fitness each day too. There’s a clinical side to mental health but we need to keep our minds health and positive every day. It’s about mental fitness too,’ he said.
Liaba Kazmi, 15, told the couple how she lived in an area of Bradford called Carlton Bolling and how it was renowned as one of the most deprived and ‘roughest’ areas of the city and wanted to become a politician or a police officer to facilitate change.
She movingly described seeing children of ‘six or seven’ hanging around on street corners without their parents and added: ‘Just because Carlton Bolling is known for having the biggest proportion of drug dealers doesn’t mean I am a drug dealer. There are such stereotypes there. There is a saying where I come from that a five-year-old can find a drug dealer quicker than a police officer can, it’s true, it’s absolutely true. I see these kids hanging around on street corners at 10 o’clock at night without their parents.
‘Why am I living in society that feels it is fine not to follow the rules? I feel like I have to do something. But I can’t sweep the broom on my own, I have to have a good group of people to help me. If we don’t start cleaning the mess now, it will be harder to clean up.’
She laughed out loud when William smiled and said: ‘I can see why you want to be a politician or a police officer. I know just the right lady! The fact that this bothers you is good, you want to make a difference. You see that and you think ‘that’s not right’, this is my home town and why is this happening. ‘ ‘You want to break those generational roles,,’ added Kate, ‘otherwise those five and six year olds won’t know any different.
‘Well done, it’s a big mission.’
Kate arrives for a visit to City Hall in Bradford today to join a group of young people from across the community
The Duchess of Cambridge visits City Hall in Bradford’s Centenary Square to meet people in the West Yorkshire city today
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit projects in Bradford which support the community and promote cohesion
Prince William and Kate go on a tour of Bradford this afternoon as they meet young people and employers
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Bradford City Hall to hear about life in the city in West Yorkshire today
The royal visitors then went into a meeting local businessmen and members of the Chamber of Commerce including Younis Chaudry, whose firm, Regal Foods, started supplying snack to Indian newsagents and now boasts a multi-million pound turnover, employing 160 local people.
They also met local board member Adeeba Malik CBE who told them: ‘Your trip to Pakistan, please don’t underestimate the importance of it. It was phenomenal. It was so powerful.’
‘We loved it,’ William grinned.
Outside City Hall the couple split for a walkabout, Kate greeting a group of flag waving children from Moorfield School in nearby Ilkley.
One man also asked him to sign a little more after using British Sign Language to congratulated a recipient at an investiture yesterday. ‘I can only sign Congratulations Alex,’ he laughed.
‘Are you all freezing?’ He asked, and turning to a cheering group: ‘This is the noisy corner. You are in fine voice!’
Before they left the couple greeted Esme Hudson, nine, and Jimmy Hayes, nine, who gave them flowers on behalf of Visit Yorkshire tourism.
After speaking with young people about their career prospects, the duke and duchess spoke with local business leaders. William took the opportunity to speak with one of them about his beloved Aston Villa FC.
Speaking about injured goalkeeper Tom Heaton, he said: ‘Poor Tom, it’s a horrible injury.’ He agreed that new signing Danny Drinkwater needs ‘more game time’ and joked: ‘I realise we’re going to start talking about football.’
When one young man told the couple that he hopes to work in video games, William asked: ‘What games do you play?’ The student and Kate both then laughed when the duke followed up with: ‘Just checking.’
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a visit to City Hall in Bradford’s Centenary Square today
Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge smile as they arrive for the engagement in Bradford today
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge return to royal duties today in Bradford for their first official engagement of the year
During their visit to Bradford City Hall, the royal couple are speaking to young people about life in the West Yorkshire city
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at City Hall in Bradford today as she goes inside with her husband Prince William
Huge cheers greeted the royal couple as they entered and came out of City Hall to meet members of the public today
The Duchess of Cambridge waves as she visits City Hall in Bradford’s Centenary Square today to join a group of young people
Kate smiles after arriving in Bradford today at the start of her tour of the city with Prince William
The Duke of Cambridge smiles as he arrives at Bradford City Hall today to hear about life in the city from young locals
Huge cheers greeted the royal couple as they came out of the City Hall to meet members of the public. Kate smiled as one little girl presented her with a small bouquet of flowers.
They will go on to visit one of the West Yorkshire city’s Khidmat Centres, which focus on helping the most vulnerable members of the community.
While there, William and Kate will join in a session by Better Start Bradford, which delivers more than 20 projects to pregnant women and families with children under the age of four.
The final engagement will see them joining a workshop run by Near Neighbours, which helps people in diverse communities to get to know each other better, build relationships of trust and improve their neighbourhoods.
Today’s visit to the West Yorkshire city is William and Kate’s first joint public engagement together in two months
Prince William smiles as he talks to officials welcoming him to Bradford City Hall for the royal visit this afternoon
The couple – who have three children, George, six, Charlotte, four, and Louis, one – are visiting young people this afternoon
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives in Bradford today as the royal couple visit a number of projects in the city
William and Kate arrived in Bradford today to cheers from several hundred well-wishers on Centenary Square
During their visit to Bradford City Hall today, they are speaking with young people about life in the West Yorkshire city
The couple are visiting a number of projects today that promote cohesion within one of the UK’s most diverse cities
William and Kate’s visit comes just two days after the Queen agreed Harry and Meghan could step back as senior royals
The royals are visiting projects in Bradford that promote cohesion within what is one of Britain’s most diverse cities
The Duke and Duchess arrive for a visit to Bradford today to join a group of young people from across the community
Kate and William were seen out together twice last month on December 25 at the Queen’s estate Sandringham for a church service – and a week before that on December 18 at the Queen’s Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace.
Yesterday, the Duchess of Sussex was seen for just the second time since the royal crisis began at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre in Vancouver discussing ‘issues affecting women in the community’.
The shelter posted a photograph on its Facebook page, with the caption ‘Look who we had tea with today! The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, visited us today to discuss issues affecting women in the community.’
Meghan did not join the royal summit at Sandringham with the Queen and senior royals by phone earlier, instead relying on her husband to put forward their case for a new independent life.
After the summit the Queen issued a statement which sanctioned the couple’s new ‘independent life’ away from full-time royal duties and she said they would begin a transition period living in the UK and Canada.
Prince William and Kate arrive in Bradford today after what has been a tumultuous week for the royals
The Duchess of Cambridge listens to what is being said during her visit with William to Bradford today
The couple are due to visit a number of projects today that promote cohesion within one of the UK’s most diverse cities
The Duchess of Cambridge brushes her hair as she arrives today for a visit to City Hall in Centenary Square, Bradford
The visit today comes just days after the Queen agreed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex could step back as senior royals
After speaking with young people about career prospects, the Duke and Duchess spoke with local business leaders today
The Duke of Cambridge returned to royal duties today in Bradford following a tumultuous week for the Royal Family
The Duchess of Cambridge meets people outside City Hall during her visit to Bradford today
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a visit to City Hall in Bradford today to join a group of young people
William and Kate arrive in Bradford today to cheers from several hundred well-wishers on Centenary Square
The duchess is said to be the driving force behind the move. Harry and Meghan spent six weeks over the festive period based in the Canadian province of British Columbia staying at an exclusive property on Vancouver Island.
The duchess, a former actress, worked in Toronto during her time starring in the popular US drama Suits, and knows the country well having lived there for seven years.
Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday that Meghan’s estranged father Thomas is prepared to give evidence against his own daughter in an extraordinary legal case.
Mr Markle is expected to be called as a key witness for the defence in a court case she has brought against a newspaper.
Mr Markle, 75, has given lawyers previously unseen text messages sent in the build-up to Meghan’s wedding to Prince Harry that reveal the breakdown of the relationship between father and daughter.
Some of the messages were detailed yesterday in defence papers filed at the High Court in London.
Kate is today meeting representatives from local businesses who are helping young people into employment in Bradford
Prince William and Kate arrive at Bradford City Hall as they are greeted by well-wishers and meet employers
The Duchess is meeting representatives from employers and businesses who are helping young people into employment
Prince William, left, enters a building as the Duchess of Cambridge waves to the crowd ahead of their meeting today
The duke and duchess speak with local business leaders in Bradford today as well as young people on their career prospects
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at City Hall in Bradford to meet with representatives from local employers and businesses
During their visit to Bradford City Hall today, they are speaking with young people about life in the West Yorkshire city
The Duchess of Cambridge smiles as she walks behind a waving Prince William outside City Hall in Bradford today
Kate is in a dress by Zara, a coat by Alexander McQueen and earrings by Zeen that she wore on her royal tour of Pakistan
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a visit to City Hall in Bradford today on their first royal engagement of the year
People hold Union Jack flags ahead of William and Kate meeting with the members of the public in Bradford today
Security personnel keep watch atop a building ahead of the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today
The documents say that after Mr Markle messaged his daughter saying he couldn’t come to her wedding because he had been rushed to hospital for emergency heart surgery and told not to fly on health grounds, he received a text that appeared to be from Prince Harry.
The message admonished him, accused him of causing hurt to his daughter and did not ask about his health. It left Mr Markle ‘deeply hurt’.
In return, Mr Markle wrote: ‘I’ve done nothing to hurt you Meghan or anyone else … I’m sorry my heart attack is … any inconvenience for you.’
The Duchess of Sussex launched legal action against the Mail on Sunday last year after it published extracts of a letter she wrote to her father in August 2018.
Meghan, 38, has accused the newspaper – the sister paper of the Daily Mail – of breaching her privacy, her data protection rights and her copyright when it published extracts.
The MoS filed its defence to her case at the High Court in London yesterday. It denied her claims and argued there was a ‘huge and legitimate public interest’ in the Royal Family, including its ‘personal and family relationships’.
A smiling Meghan Markle was spotted yesterday leaving the Vancouver Island home where she and Prince Harry stayed over the holidays with Archie. She has been staying in the mansion since last week, but Archie was nowhere to be seen yesterday
Yesterday, the Duchess of Sussex was seen for just the second time since the royal crisis began at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre in Vancouver, Canada, discussing ‘issues affecting women in the community’
The defence papers also said:
- Thomas Markle only released Meghan’s letter to the world to show it was not the ‘loving’ plea her friends had been making out;
- He had kept her handwritten note private for months, and only revealed it to expose ‘false’ claims that the duchess had been reaching out to repair their relationship;
- He only decided to release extracts to the Press after she had allowed her friends to talk about the letter first in the US magazine People;
- That one of Meghan’s best friends, Jessica Mulroney, once intervened to try to fix a ‘favourable’ article for her;
- Mr Markle had insisted he made multiple attempts to contact his daughter by phone call and by text message, but received no response;
- That apart from the August 2018 letter, Mr Markle had not heard from his daughter since he told her he was too ill to attend her wedding. He had never been introduced to her husband Prince Harry, nor met his grandson Archie.
The Queen’s statement in full on Monday after a day of showdown talks to decide the futures of Harry and Meghan
The development follows Monday’s Sandringham summit, which saw the Queen hold crisis talks about Meghan and Harry’s role in the Royal Family after they announced their wish to step back from their royal duties.
The duchess was last night pictured in Canada for the first time since she returned there following the bombshell ‘Megxit’ statement. She was seen boarding a sea plane from Vancouver Island which appeared to be destined for Whistler ski resort.
Meghan launched her legal action against the MoS last year after it published excerpts of her letter to her father. Mr Markle gave the letter to the newspaper after unnamed friends of the duchess told the People magazine that she had written the ‘loving’ letter in an attempt to repair their relationship.
Lawyers for the newspaper alleged that Meghan had ‘knowingly’ allowed her friends to leak details of the letter to the magazine – effectively that she had helped to breach her own privacy.
The Queen is pictured attending a service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, on January 12
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were last pictured in public together after visiting Canada House in London on January 7
Stressing that the Royal Family were public figures supported ‘largely by public funds’, the newspaper said: ‘There is a huge and legitimate public interest in the Royal Family and activities, conduct and standards of behaviour of its members.
‘This extends not merely to their public conduct, but to their personal and family relationships because those are integral to the proper functioning of the monarchy.’
If the case goes before a judge, the paper said it would ask for Meghan to be forced to hand over all communications in which she had ’caused or permitted her friends to provide information about her to the media or to seek to influence what is published about her’.
It could lead to the prospect of Meghan coming face to face with her father in the High Court.
Mr Markle, a retired Hollywood lighting director who lives in Rosarito, Mexico, has said his daughter cut off all contact with him after her wedding, except for the letter at the centre of the case.
If he were to be called as a witness, he would effectively have to brand his own daughter a liar who had invaded her own privacy. The Sussexes have said they will fund the legal proceedings privately.