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Duke reveals secret musical talent

Published 19/05/2015

The Duke of Cambridge presented the honours at the investiture
The Duke of Cambridge presented the honours at the investiture

The Duke of Cambridge has revealed he has a secret musical talent - and has already been snapped up by former Aswad frontman Brinsley Forde.

As William presented the musician, broadcaster and ex-child actor with an MBE he confessed to being a bass player, and immediately attracted the reggae star's attention.

The Duke met the performer when he hosted a Windsor Castle investiture ceremony, his first public engagement in the UK since the birth of his daughter Princess Charlotte earlier this month on May 2.

After the event Forde said: "I've just got a new bass player - you might know him as the Duke of Cambridge.

"He said 'I'm a bit good on the bass guitar' so I'm thinking of signing him up, but he's got such a lot of other duties I don't know whether he'll have time to do it.

"I also congratulated him on the birth of Charlotte and said my son's waiting for the birth of his child so I'm about to be another grandfather."

William's father the Prince of Wales used to play the cello but it is the first time the Duke has spoken of his musical talents, although he is known to be a fan of rap and R&B music.

Forde's group Aswad pioneered homegrown British reggae and not only had British chart success but earned the respect of their Jamaican peers.

Their single Don't Turn Around topped the charts in 1988 and cemented their position as one of Britain's leading reggae acts.

Forde was also a child actor appearing in the 1970s' television series Here Come the Double Deckers, the British sitcom Please Sir! and Forde featured in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever.

The performer is still remembered for his lead role in the 1980s' cult movie Babylon about the life of young black man in a troubled London.

Speaking about receiving the MBE Forde said: "What's touched me about this is having my mother come to Windsor Castle, because when she was young all they learnt about was England and the Queen.

"For a black family, to have your parents in a situation like this I'm really, really happy."

He said he broke into acting by chance after he went to meet his sister when her Saturday morning drama class finished and began appearing in musicals before he won TV acting parts.

Forde is now a solo artist but he originally joined forces with his Aswad bandmates in the mid 1970s with the aim of creating an authentic British reggae musical voice.

He said: "Choosing that genre of music we were telling our story and I think were one of the first bands to write our own music."

Also recognised during the Windsor Castle investiture ceremony was former athlete Dame Mary Peters.

Dame Mary, from Northern Ireland, won gold in the pentathlon at the 1972 Olympics and was made a dame in 2000.

She was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to sport and the community in Northern Ireland.

Her Olympic Gold medal victory helped to unite Northern Ireland behind their sporting heroine during the Troubles.

Dame Mary said: "My homecoming raised the spirits because it was good news. It gave me the opportunity to do things that the politicians couldn't do - bring people together."

The Order is conferred on men and women who have performed service of national importance.

Dame Mary has now joined the ranks of individuals like Professor Stephen Hawking, naturalist Sir David Attenborough and painter David Hockney who have all received the honour.

She said: "This is a wonderful honour I'm so thrilled to have it."

She has retired from her post as Lord Lieutenant of Belfast and during her last week hosted the Queen during her visit to the city last June.

The former athlete said: "It was my final week as Lord Lieutenant as you have to retire at 75 and we took her to the Game Of Thrones (film set) she was so well received, it was wonderful."

She also was part of William and Kate's entourage when they visited Belfast when they travelled to Northern Ireland ahead of their wedding in 2011.

Speaking about her brief conversation with the Duke she said: "He mentioned the fact his father is in Ireland on a significant visit and he thanked me for what I'd done for Northern Ireland."

Petty Officer Russ Adams, a winchman based at RNAS Culdrose, who repeatedly risked his life to save five French fisherman, was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal.

He was part of the crew of a Sea King helicopter sent out to rescue the fisherman from their badly damaged vessel which had been caught in a raging storm off the coast of Cornwall last February.

PO Adams, from 771 Naval Air Squadron, was winched into the sea to rescue the men who would otherwise almost certainly have died.

He said: "To be honest we felt bad for the fisherman, they were in a horrendous situation they probably hadn't been in before and we do a lot of training and practice for these events.

"I was attached to the aircraft and we were asking them to jump in the sea not attached to anything, so they were way more worried then we were - they just had to trust us."

PO Adams said William's former role as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot, which would have seen him fly similar missions, gave the ceremony added significance.

He said: "We both know the job so that made today something special."

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