Belfast Telegraph

Students welcome William and Kate

Young people from across Belfast's religious divide who met Prince William and Kate Middleton have described them as a "friendly, down-to-earth couple".

The royal guests were in the audience for a musical showcase at Youth Action NI where Protestant and Catholic students receive training in areas including youth work and the performing arts.

The couple spoke with many of the students and Prince William presented them with certificates at a graduation ceremony at the organisation's city centre headquarters.

Aaron Cathcart, from the Ballybeen area of east Belfast, was among those who performed for a special audience of 150 people that also included First Minister Peter Robinson, Secretary of State Owen Paterson, South Belfast MP Alasdair McDonnell, Dame Mary Peters and Youth Action's president Shane O'Neill.

"They were both unbelievable," said 22-year-old Mr Cathcart of William and Kate.

"It was fantastic to see such a buzz around Youth Action and it was an absolute honour to have them here. They smiled during the performance, and laughed at the funny bits, so they seemed to enjoy it."

Laura Marley, from Andersonstown in west Belfast, took part in a private meeting with the special guests during their surprise visit.

"Prince William and Kate asked questions about how we found the apprenticeship, and where we saw ourselves going in the future," said the 21-year-old.

"They were lovely and down to earth, just normal people. My expectation was that they wouldn't ask questions, but would be just nodding their heads, but they were taking in everything that we were saying.

"They were very, very friendly. They thought it was good that we took our work out into the community and they thought it was amazing that it was cross-community, it wasn't just one religion, it was both together."

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