The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have carried out their first royal engagement via video call to school children whose parents are working on the frontline.
William, 37, and Kate, 38, were seen giggling as the pupils, wearing Easter-themed bunny ears, presented them with a ‘virtual’ bouquet of paper flowers.
The couple, dialing in from their Norfolk home, Anmer Hall, spoke to staff and youngsters from Casterton Primary Academy in Lancashire, where teachers are helping to look after the children of key workers in frontline services including the NHS and social care, as well as supermarkets and delivery drivers.
The Duke and Duchess were keen to thank staff for all they were doing during the Covid-19 epidemic as well talk about the effect it is having on the youngsters.
William, 37, and Kate, 38, were seen giggling as the pupils presented them with a ‘virtual’ bouquet of paper flowers
But there was also time for a spot of fun as the pupils showed off their Easter arts and crafts, including a felt collage they had made, with rainbows and hearts saying ‘Thank you NHS’.
‘I like your bunny ears,’ smiled William. ‘They look like the real deal.’
One child, who had been doing a history project told the duke that the ‘first William was called William the Conquerer’.
They asked: ‘What do you want to be called in 1,000 years time?’
The youngsters from Casterton Primary Academy in Lancashire presented the Duke and Duchess with their Easter-themed bunny ears
However the current Prince William laughingly said he didn’t think he could answer that.
Anita Ghidotti, Chief Executive of the Pendle Education Trust, said the children also asked them who ‘the best famous person was that they had met’.
‘I bet they don’t get asked very often,’ she laughed. ‘The Duchess said that Prince George has been watching lots of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet so that would probably be hers. The Duke said his favourite people weren’t actually famous.’
Kate, dressed in a spring-appropriate yellow Zara jumper with puff sleeves and gold fern drop earrings costing £165 from Zoraida London, was also given a virtual bouquet by Lloyd, aged nine.
‘He had spent three days painstakingly making paper flowers covered with ladybirds for the Duchess,’ Anita said, adding: ‘He spent so much time on it and called himself the origami king. He did a virtual handover of his posey. He was very proud.
‘The flowers had ladybirds on them and the Duchess said her Louis loved ladybirds and had been in out in the garden looking for them.’
The Duke and Duchess were keen to thank staff for all they were doing during the Covid-19 epidemic as well talk about the effect it is having on the youngsters
The primary school is one of five local academies run by the Pendle Education Trust and cares for the children of many key workers at nearby Burnley General Hospital.
It also works closely with the emotional and welfare support charity, Place2Be, of which Kate is patron, which is providing phone ‘check-ins’ for children and parents.
Several children showed William and Kate portraits of their key worker parents and explained why they were proud of them.
Kate spoke to Harris, age 10, whose mother is an NHS administrator for health visitors, and Lloyd, aged 9, whose mother works at a special school.
The Duchess asked: ‘What are your names? Very nice to meet you. I’m Catherine and this is William next to me. Are you holding up pictures of your mummies and daddies?’
The pupils held up pictures of their parents working on the frontline in services such as the NHS
Harris replied: ‘This is a picture of my mum and she works for the NHS as an admin for the health visitors and I’m really proud of her.’
Kate replied: ‘Ah, great photo – well done, it’s brilliant. I agree you should be very proud of her, they’re doing an amazing job all the NHS workers, so well done you.’
One child said their mum worked in the NHS to which William said it was a very important job and they should be very proud. Another said their dad was a packer in a bakery. William replied: ‘That’s a very important job too, keeping every one well fed.’
The couple also chatted to staff, including Leala Porter, Place2 Be Project Manager at Pendle Primary Academy, about the difficulties that schools, teachers and children are facing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Duchess said: ‘To you and everyone who is in during this time, it must be such a relief for all the parents who are key workers to know that their children have the normality and structure and they’ve got a safe place for them to be.
‘So really, really well done and for all of you I know it’s not easy circumstances, but it’s fantastic.’
William chipped in: ‘Good northern volunteering spirit going on up there, very good of you!’
When the staff wished them a lovely Easter, William replied: ‘There’ll be a lot of chocolate being eaten here that’s for sure.’
‘You keep eating it!’ quipped Kate.
The couple also said they wished they had known that the staff were dressing up in bunny ears as they would have put theirs on too.
Speaking afterwards, Leala said: ‘Some of the children, especially the older ones, were actually asking about why they had such an interest in mental health and that really opened a dialogue.
‘They understood what the Duke and Duchess were trying to promote. There was a genuine interest.’
Anita said the visit has been a real tonic for the school and the children.
‘They just couldn’t believe it. It was just absolutely fantastic. They couldn’t believe their eyes,’ she said.
‘The children brought in lots of things to show them. Last week we were still doing things like maths and other schoolwork. But this week we have been making a real effort to do some fun things.
‘We have been trying to find the positive in all of this and actually these children are really loving being here. They are making new friends or seeing kids they don’t normally see very often.’
She added: ‘I can’t tell you the difference things like this make. We are in such difficult circumstances. I can’t believe they chose us, out of everyone in the country, everyone feels very special. It’s been a real boost. It’s been wonderful.’
Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles share a touching portrait from Birkhall with the duchess’ beloved Jack Russell terriers to mark their 15th wedding anniversary – after the couple were reunited following Charles’ battle with coronavirus
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary by releasing a touching new portrait of themselves together at Birkhall, holding Camilla’s beloved pet dogs.
The Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles were reunited on Monday after the 72-year-old duchess came out of a 14-day self-isolation on the Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire.
The royal couple faced a worrying time after the prince fell ill with coronavirus, but heir to the throne Charles, 71, has recovered after having mild symptoms.
The photo taken on Wednesday morning – the day before their anniversary – shows the smiling prince and duchess seated side by side in the front porch of their Scottish country retreat, with Jack Russell terriers Bluebell and Beth.
The Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles shared this sweet photo from Birkhall with dogs Bluebell and Beth to mark their 15th wedding anniversary tomorrow (April 9)
It is the first time the couple, who are known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, have been pictured together since it was announced Charles had caught the Covid-19 illness.
Camilla, dressed in blue denim jeans, an open-necked pink shirt, pale blue jumper and navy suede boots, is holding Bluebell on her lap, while the prince, in an open-necked blue shirt, navy jacket, olive green trousers and fawn suede loafers, has an alert-looking Beth in his arms.
Both dogs were rescued by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, of which Camilla is royal patron.
The duchess has written of Beth and Bluebell in the past: ‘They are family, friends and ever-faithful companions and, just like anyone else with a passion for dogs, I can’t imagine life without them.’
The prince has a plaster on the end of one of his middle fingers, but Clarence House declined to comment as to why.
Earlier this week Clarence House shared this photo of the Duchess of Cornwall on the phone at Birkhall in Aberdeenshire, after she came out of isolation
Last week the couple were pictured clapping for our NHS heroes in separate rooms of their Birkhall residence. A video was shared to the Clarence House Instagram page
The photograph was taken by a member of staff. The couple, like the Queen who is staying at Windsor Castle, are operating with a reduced household.
The prince spent seven days isolating after being diagnosed on March 25, and finished just over a week ago.
Camilla, who tested negative for the Covid-19 disease, isolated for a fortnight in keeping with advice.
Any private celebrations for their decade-and-a-half-long marriage – their crystal anniversary – on Thursday will be low key as the pair socially distance from friends and family like the rest of the country.
Camilla has paid tribute to the thousands of people who have registered as NHS volunteers, even phoning 85-year-old Doris Winfield from Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, who has been self-isolating, for a chat.
The prince and the duchess – formerly Camilla Parker Bowles – wed in a civil ceremony at the Windsor Guildhall on April 9 2005, after a relationship spanning more than 30 years
What a difference a year makes! Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall enjoy a mojito as they visit a paladar called Habanera, a privately owned restaurant in Havana, Cuba, on March 27, 2019
The prince, who opened the NHS Nightingale hospital in London by video link on Friday, has spoken of the ‘strange, frustrating and often distressing’ experience of being without friends and relatives while suffering from coronavirus.
The prince and the duchess – formerly Camilla Parker Bowles – wed in a civil ceremony at the Windsor Guildhall on April 9 2005, after a relationship spanning more than 30 years.
The ceremony was followed by a blessing in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
The couple spent their honeymoon at their beloved hideaway Birkhall, which is nestled in a picturesque glen on the Queen’s private estate.
At first, former royal mistress-turned-HRH Camilla took tentative steps as she adjusted to royal life.
Their recent photo featured Camilla’s beloved dogs – also pictured in this snap of Charles of Camilla, dated June 2015, at the inaugural Dumfries House Dog Show in Ayrshire
In the 1990s, she was dubbed a marriage wrecker and the ‘other woman’ and held responsible for the breakdown of Charles’s relationship with Diana, Princess of Wales.
Now 15 years on, Camilla, one of the most senior female members of the royal family, has carved out her own charitable role, and appeared alongside the prince and the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament.
She focuses on raising awareness of osteoporosis, promoting literacy, and supporting survivors of sexual assaults and domestic abuse.
The grinning Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall pictured opening a new play park in Ballater in April 2005
Described as witty, warm, down to earth and fun, she is adored by Charles, her children Tom and Laura, and her five grandchildren who call her by the nickname GaGa.
The prince – the father of the Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex – is the nation’s longest serving heir to the throne.
Sensitive and with a strong social conscience, he is known for his charity work and environmental campaigning.
He also admits – in his own words – to being an ‘inveterate interferer and meddler’ for his outspoken views on many different matters and causes.