It was an away day for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in South Wales focused on a variety of engagements highlighting local organisations and businesses.
William and Kate arrived at Mumbles Pier shortly after noon for engagements in the scenic area. Shortly afterwards, Kensington Palace tweeted "Helo ‘na o Dde Cymru! Mae Dug a Duges Caergrawnt heddiw’n dathlu busnesau a chymunedau’r Mwmbwls a Phort Talbot. // Hello South Wales! Today The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are celebrating businesses and local communities in The Mumbles and Port Talbot."
Wales is a very special place for the Cambridges. They shared their first home together - a four-bedroom rented farmhouse - on the Isle for three years while William worked as a Search and Rescue pilot. Months after the royal wedding Kate said: "I love our life in Anglesey. It's just nice to be outdoors and away from the city. As much as I love London, it's nice to get away". When the couple left William said they would return "again and again".
Only a fortnight ago, Kate visited Cardiff as part of the launch of her early years survey and I noted how important it is to forge bonds with the people and the communities there, especially as William and Kate are the next Prince and Princess of Wales.
Their first port of call was the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) Mumbles Lifeboat station, which is one of Wales’ busiest lifeboat stations.
The Queen has been patron of the RNLI since 1952. They were introduced to a number of volunteers and Paul O’Dwyer who was saved by the RNLI after his boat lost power out at sea. They discussed the mental health of the crew and the importance of talking to each other. They also presented volunteer James Bolter with a ’20 Years of Service’ award.
Lifeboat crews at The Mumbles have been saving lives for over 180 years.
Outside, a very eager group waited to greet the royals.
A video from the first portion of the day.
'During Prince William and Kate’s visit to south Wales on Tuesday, the royal mom met 3-year-old Annabel shortly after their arrival at Mumbles Pier.
“I said to her that Annabel was really excited to meet a real princess,” Annabel’s mother, local family doctor Rhian Costello, tells PEOPLE. “And she said, ‘I’m sorry I’m not wearing a pretty dress today.’ Annabel then said that she thought she’d look like Cinderella.”
Costello, who also has 18-month-old twins at home, adds, “She was very, very natural and lovely and sweet with the children. She was so lovely talking to as many people and children as possible. She said that Annabel looked cold and asked how long we’d been waiting. I thanked them for coming to Wales and that it’s so lovely they come and bring their publicity.”
Kate then responded that she and William “would like to try to come more as they always enjoy coming down to visit.”
Kate had a very special reunion when she noticed two of her primary school teachers Denise Evans-Alford and Kevin Alford in the crowd.
'Kate attended St Andrew's prep school in Pangbourne, Berkshire, along with her siblings Pippa and James Middleton, until she was 13. Mrs Evans-Alford was her netball coach while Mr Alford taught French and German. The Duchess, who had not seen her tutors for 20 years, told them: "I want to instil in my children what I learned at St Andrews."
After the reunion, Mrs Evans-Alford said: “Kate hasn’t changed at all, you can tell, Pippa and James are wonderful too. I’ve been waiting 20 years for this." Mr Alford said: "We saw her once when she came back to school, when she was 14, and we haven't seen her since. Obviously, we've been following her career. She was in such a wonderful class of girls and they got on so well together."
The video below has lovely footage of Kate meeting children.
Mike Sutton Smith shared a very sweet video of his father-in-law Harvey Bentley meeting the Duchess. Kate told him "I hope you're keeping warm enough. It's very nice to meet you. Thank you for coming to say hello to us". She added "It's lovely to see the children out". Harvey kissed Kate on the hand and she told him she would send William over to say hello.
Thanks to @mikesuttonsmith who shared this lovely clip of Kate meeting his father-in-law Harvey Bentley, 90, and got William to come and say hello too: pic.twitter.com/1Dq8Ijn8er— Emily Nash (@emynash) February 4, 2020
Harvey's son-in-law Mike said his family would never forget the meeting.
Emily Nash shared a clip of the royals meeting pupils from Oystermouth primary school. They were out in force waving flags despite the blustery weather.
The children were on hand to teach William and Kate a few words in Welsh. Simon Perry reports:The pupils of @OystermouthP were out in force with flags and homemade daffodil bookmarks! #dukeandduchessofcambridge pic.twitter.com/ruaSNTmtYD— Emily Nash (@emynash) February 4, 2020
'Though the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent the first years of their married life in North Wales, they asked the children to help polish their language skills. “She asked the children to teach her some Welsh words,” Rosaria Burke, 25, says. “They said hello and ‘nos da’ for goodnight.”
William, on the other hand, had already mastered “good morning” — saying “bore da” — the only problem being that it was already afternoon. When one woman taught him “prynhawn da” for good afternoon, he repeated it and added, “But you guys have probably been here since morning. Your hands aren’t so cold — they’ve got the coldest hands up there,” the royal said, gesturing towards Mumbles Pier which they had just left.'
From there, it was a previously unannounced visit to Joe's ice cream parlour.
Kensington Palace said: "The family run business has been serving gelato to local resident’s since Joe Cascarini arrived from Italy in the early 1900s."
William told staff he's a "chocolate man" before sampling a signature cone. Kate asked him "Is that good?". As you can see it's a thumbs up! The Duchess had her ice cream in a tub.
The Duchess sat down with a group of parents and caregivers to discuss her 5 Big Questions survey.
A group of children were excited to talk to Kate.
And this is a strong contender for 'moment of the day' :)
William spotted a copy of Julia Donaldson's Room On The Broom and said "I read this to the children all the time". He recently presented the author with a CBE for services to literature.
In Port Talbot, William and Kate met with employees and their families at the UK’s largest steel plant, which has been operating on the site for over one hundred years. The plant is a vital employer in the area, providing over 4,000 jobs to members of the local community.
The factory creates a range of steel products including products for construction and appliances.
Almost fifty years ago the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Port Talbot to open the all new BOS Plant and and Harbour.
Finally, William and Kate visited the Bulldogs Development Centre.
The Bulldogs is a partnership between Bulldogs Boxing & Community Activities and Port Talbot Amateur Boxing, which helps to support young people in the community who may have been affected by adverse childhood experiences and mental health issues, and gives them a sense of belonging through fitness and boxing.
The Palace said the visit was organised to coincide with Children's Mental Health Week.
This year's theme is Find Your Brave.
Yesterday, Kate shared a message marking the week:
'For many children today, the world can feel a scary and daunting place. While we might not always feel brave inside, even the smallest act - such as sharing a worry or asking for help - can be incredibly courageous. Helping children to feel confident about seeking support can have a transformational impact on their lives.
Being able to try new things and push ourselves outside of our comfort zone are important skills that can build children’s resilience and self-esteem. Learning these skills early in life can give children tools to cope with future challenges they may face in adulthood.
I am therefore so pleased to once again support Place2Be’s Children’s Mental Health Week, which is this year focused on bravery. Through all my interactions with the charity, I’m proud to have seen how its work is helping children, young people and adults to be more confident in looking after their mental health, but there is still much more to do. The first step is talking about it, and recently I’ve launched a UK-wide survey on the under-fives in an attempt to get people to do just that. Our long-term ambition is to bring about positive, lasting change for generations to come.
I’d love schools and families across the country to take part in the week to help children and young people to ‘find their brave’.
The Duchess chose a stylish red and navy look with high street pieces and items from her own wardrobe.
The Hobbs Bianca coat is a timeless and versatile addition to Kate's amazing collection. The long, military inspired piece is described as "Crafted from a luxurious wool-rich fabric, the Bianca from Hobbs is a timeless layer you'll still be wearing years from now. Expertly tailored, it's cut to a maxi silhouette and features burnished crested buttons and shoulder epaulettes." It's available in very limited sizing at Hobbs where it's reduced from £349 to £249. It's also on sale at Debenhams.
A shorter forest green version of the Bianca style is on sale for £199. It's reduced by 40% at Bloomingdales.
Kate's red ZARA dress is a past season piece (with thanks to Heaven). The Duchess added her own black belt. The choice of red was very likely a nod to Wales.
Kate accessorised with the Beulah London Shibani scarf in a red heart print. It's currently available for pre-order.
The Duchess carried her Mulberry Darley bag in red croc.
Kate accessorised with her Asprey Oak Leaf earrings.
And her G, C and L necklace by Daniella Draper.
Next Tuesday, William and Kate will join Charles and Camilla for a visit to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Stanford Hall and meet patients and staff. Stanford on Soar, Loughborough.