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Aston Villa fan William talks football in Bradford following tumultuous week for royals

The couple began their visit in West Yorkshire at Bradford City Hall.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave after a visit to City Hall (Danny Lawson/PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave after a visit to City Hall (Danny Lawson/PA)

By Emma Bowden, Henry Clare and Amy Murphy, PA

The Duke of Cambridge used his first royal visit of the year to talk about his beloved football team following a tumultuous week for the royal family.

William and the Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Bradford on Wednesday to cheers from several hundred well-wishers on Centenary Square.

The couple began their visit in West Yorkshire at the City Hall, where they met with students and local employers helping youngsters to get jobs in the community.

After speaking with young people about their career prospects, the duke took the opportunity to speak with local business leaders about Aston Villa FC, a team which he is known to follow.

During a discussion with David Baldwin, chief executive of Burnley Football Club, William discussed injured Villa goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

The duke said: “Poor Tom, it’s a horrible injury.”

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The duke and duchess spoke to locals as they left their first engagement (Danny Lawson/PA)

He agreed that new signing Danny Drinkwater needs “more game time”, before looking round and joking: “I realise we’re going to start talking about football (now).”

William raised concerns about the end-of-season prospects for Villa at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, when he awarded an MBE to David Gill, former vice-chairman of the FA.

The couple are due to visit a number of projects that promote cohesion within one of the UK’s most diverse cities.

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Hundreds of well-wishers turned out to get a glimpse of the royals (Danny Lawson/PA)

It comes just days after the Queen agreed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex could step back as senior royals and begin a “new life” as an “independent” family.

Following a summit at Sandringham on Monday, Buckingham Palace confirmed Harry and Meghan would begin a “transition period” in which they would split their time between the UK and Canada.

The summit convened by the monarch, which brought together Harry, William and the Prince of Wales, was not attended by Meghan, who is in Canada with baby son Archie.

It also emerged on Tuesday that Meghan’s father could give evidence against her in her legal battle with The Mail On Sunday, should it go to trial.

High Court documents revealed Thomas Markle forms part of the newspaper’s defence, after The Mail On Sunday and its parent company Associated Newspapers were accused of unlawfully publishing a letter between the two.

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The Queen has agreed Harry and Meghan could step back as senior royals (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The visit to Bradford is William and Kate’s first official royal engagement of the decade.

The couple, parents to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, were last spotted in public together attending a church service on the Queen’s private estate in Norfolk on January 5.

Kate, who celebrated her 38th birthday last week, wore a long, military style khaki coat by British designer Alexander McQueen.

Underneath the coat, Kate wore a black and white tartan pattern pussybow dress from high street retailer Zara, which she paired with black pointed court style heels, a small black bag and gold drop earrings by Zeen.

The Pakistani jewellery designer was favoured by the duchess during their royal visit to Pakistan in October.

Hundreds of well-wishers who turned out to catch a glimpse of the royal couple erupted into cheers as the duke and duchess left the 19th-century building.

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William and Kate met with locals from the community during their first visit (Danny Lawson/PA)

Kate, who spoke to children waving Union Flags as they left, smiled as one little girl presented her with a small bouquet of flowers.

Following the engagement at City Hall, the duke and duchess visited MyLahore’s flagship restaurant, where they met students from Bradford College taking part in an apprenticeship scheme.

The royal couple made mango and kulfi milkshakes in the kitchen, 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.

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The royals during a visit to MyLahore restaurant in Bradford (Chris Jackson/PA)

William called his milkshake “delicious” as he took a sip, before asking staff about the origin of ingredients used.

Their final engagement will see them joining a workshop run by Near Neighbours, an organisation that helps people in diverse communities to get to know each other better, build relationships of trust and improve their neighbourhoods.

PA

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