Off-roading lesson for Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
William and Kate chatted with mountain rescue volunteers who use the Land Rovers.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been given a lesson in Land Rover off-roading during a tour of the all-terrain marque’s flagship plant.
The royal couple both briefly ground to a halt at the same notoriously difficult spot half-way up a rock crawl, as they were guided around the Land Rover Experience in Solihull, West Midlands.
As well as meeting dozens of the assembly line workers at the neighbouring Jaguar Land Rover manufacturing site, William and Kate chatted with mountain rescue volunteers who use vehicles made at the factory.
Land Rover Experience lead instructor Ro Furby, who accompanied the Duke around the circuit, said the royal guest had done “amazingly well” at the wheel of a Mountain Rescue liveried 4×4.
“It was an absolute privilege to take him round off-road and show him the capability of the vehicles,” she told reporters.
Observing that almost every driver new to the course stops at a “little quirk” part-way up the rock crawl, Ro added: “It’s just a point where the vehicle actually articulates and you lose a little bit of traction.
“And you learn that a nice way to recover from a loss of traction is to change your lines subtly. It’s something that we do use as learning for any guest that actually takes on that obstacle.”
After arriving at the site in a Range Rover, the duke and duchess were greeted by Jaguar Land Rover chief executive Ralf Speth, the factory’s operations director Nigel Blenkinsop and the Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, John Crabtree.
The Duke and Duchess then paid a visit to Aston Villa football club, to support their sports coaching initiative.
The Coach Core scheme was designed by The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, aimed at taking young people from deprived areas and turning them into the next generation of sports coaches.
It was set up in part to make use of the London 2012 Olympics’ sporting legacy, and now runs in cities across the UK – launching in Birmingham in April.
Outside, avid Villa fan William was greeted by club chairman Tony Xia and they chatted about the side’s fortunes and football in China.
It is the Duke’s first official visit to Villa in four years, when he witnessed a 0-0 draw with Sunderland in November 2013.
Keith Wyness, club chief executive, also spoke with the Duke and then turned to Kate to quip: “Welcome back to the home of one of your husband’s other passions.”
The Duchess, smiling, replied: “Yes, he’s been very excited by it.”
William, who is President of the Football Association, laughed and said: “It’ll be interesting to see if she’s been listening to any of my conversations about football”, causing Kate to joke “I knew I should have.”
After speaking with employers and sports associations backing Coach Core, the couple met youngsters from Prince Albert Infant and Junior School taking part in on-pitch training.