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William a fan of swimming, costume parties – and The Verve

The Duke of Cambridge revealed some of his favourite things while handing out royal honours at Buckingham Palace.

The Duke of Cambridge (Victoria Jones/PA)
The Duke of Cambridge (Victoria Jones/PA)

By Mike Bedigan, PA

Recipients of royal honours have revealed the Duke of Cambridge is a fan of swimming, costume parties and rock band The Verve.

William made the remarks while handing out awards at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

Speaking to Eileen Fenton, who received an MBE for voluntary services to swimming, he told her the royals were a “family of swimmers”.

Ms Fenton was 21 when she swam the English channel in 1950, a feat that earned her the admiration of her home town of Dewsbury in Yorkshire.

The race was sponsored by the Daily Mail, which paid her £1,000 for her achievement.

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Eileen Fenton receives her honour from William (Yui Mok/PA)

Asked what she and William had spoken about, she replied: “Well, we spoke about swimming.

“He said that he and his wife make sure the children can swim and they all go and they swim quite well.

“I can remember seeing when the Queen was young and her sister Princess Margaret – we used to see them swimming in pictures. He said the whole family have done it.”

Ms Fenton, who is now 91, will celebrate the 70th anniversary of her achievement next August.

She was joined at the ceremony by one of her former pupils, Wendy Brook, who broke both the men’s and women’s world records for crossing the English Channel in 1976.

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Eileen Fenton with Wendy Brook (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Also collecting an award at the palace on Tuesday was Timothy Angel, director of Angel Costumes, which has designed outfits for several Academy Award-winning films and television series such as The Crown.

Mr Angel, who received a CBE for services to theatre, television, film and the arts, said he was “chuffed” with his award and the occasion was “very special”.

“It’s real theatre, it’s wonderful to see it and it’s a great honour to come to Buck House and see everyone dressed up,” he said.

Mr Angel said William recalled buying party outfits from the family-owned shop.

“When he was much, much younger he used to come and get fancy-dress costumes from our store, which he remembered.”

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William with Timothy Angel (Yui Mok/PA)

He added: “They all dressed up, they dressed up a lot. He had it as his 21st (birthday), he got one from us,” but he could not remember what William had gone as to the party.

Mr Angel joked that costumes worn by staff at Buckingham Palace were “not bad” in comparison to those on The Crown.

Another award recipient was soprano Mary Bevan, who spoke to William about music and her career as a singer.

She explained: “He said, ‘I’m still trying to work out where my voice is’, and I told him I thought he was a baritone.

“He said, ‘Oh yes, I’m sure I am’, and then he asked me about my job, how it’s a bit up and down.”

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Mary Bevan is made an MBE (Yui Mok/PA)

William then asked about Ms Bevan’s opinion of the music playing at the ceremony.

“He was talking about the orchestra and said, ‘How do you find the music?’, and I said I was impressed at how quietly they were playing.

“He said, ‘Yes, they’re playing some nice tunes, but sometimes I want them to play The Verve’.

“I think it was just the first band that popped into his head.”

Ms Bevan, who received an MBE for services to music, is due to give a performance at the English National Opera on Tuesday evening.

About her award, she said: “It’s lovely, but I don’t know if I can wear it with my coat, day to day. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it.”

PA

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