William and Kate get wiggle room on visit to Coventry
It is likely to be one of their last engagements before Kate gives birth to their third child.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge followed in well-trodden royal footsteps when they danced in public, learning a new way to communicate.
William and Kate did the “wiggle dance” when they joined occupational therapist Annette Roebuck who runs an innovative organisation that uses people with learning difficulties or other conditions to teach communication skills to others.
The royal couple put their hands above their heads and smiled as they moved the hips from side to side as Ms Roebuck played and sang the song Learn From Us.
The simple tune is used in the first training session for students working in the health service who want to improve their communication skills and the duke and duchess were following a teacher who had cerebral palsy, Steven Battle-Welsh, and another, Alysia Wilson, whose hearing and sight are impaired and who has a learning disability.
As the guitar was played the Cambridges shimmied again and showed just like the Prince of Wales and Prince Harry they can also dance when the moment calls for a display on the dancefloor.
The Duchess of Cambridge is greeted by well-wishers as she arrives at Coventry cathedral pic.twitter.com/KgL1VdrSA5— PA Royal Reporters (@PARoyal) January 16, 2018
Ms Roebuck who is a director of the organisation Communicate2U said: “The wiggle message is very powerful, and the royals were happy to take part. It was empowering to have Steven and Alysia as the teachers, rather than being seen as the ones with the problems.
“The chorus is ‘learn from us wiggle, wiggle, wiggle’ we’re saying ‘you’ve got to see us as communicating beings, learn from us, mirror our communication style’.”
The Duke and Duchess’ lesson came as they toured Coventry University’s new £59 million Science and Health building that trains nurses, midwives and paramedics.
At Coventry University’s new medical teaching facility, students learn to care for a patient at every stage of their medical journey, from paramedics arriving at their home, to operations and the final stages of their care.
During their tour, the duke and duchess watched two nervous students Neelum Choudhray and Dan Read – training to be operating department pracitioners who assist surgeons – taking part in a mock operation complete with the patient’s bowel exposed and bloody swabs on display.
With the students covered from head to toe in surgical scrubs, William asked “How realistic is the operation for you – can it simulate pretty much anything?” And then later he joked “we won’t stand and watch you here all day.”
William and Kate, who wore a coat by Mulberry and a dress by Madderson, spent the day in Coventry celebrating its people and heritage and arrived in the city by train from the capital.
The royal couple’s first stop was a visit to a well known landmark of Coventry cathedral where, as they went on a walkabout meeting hundreds of well-wishers and school children, Kate came to the rescue of a 10-year-old boy.
The youngster felt unwell after waiting three hours in the cold to see her and the duchess turned to one of her police protection officers for a sickbag.
Carole Flynn, a learning mentor from the boy’s school said: “He went quite pale. She came over to speak to him, and noticed he was not very well. She asked if he was OK. She bent down, and was concerned.”
The duchess then went over to talk to one of her Met Police personal protection officers, and came back with a brown paper bag, of the type used by cafes for takeaway coffee and sandwiches.
“It was lovely of her,” said Ms Flynn. “She really took time with him. You can tell she is a mum, and has got that caring side.”
Outside the cathedral, the duchess also revealed that when it comes to football, Kensington Palace is a gender equality home – as both George, four, and Charlotte, two, have got Aston Villa kits.
Inside the cathedral, which was rebuilt after it was bombed in the war, and consecrated in 1962 in the presence of the Queen, they joined in the litany of reconciliation – one of the themes promoted worldwide by the cathedral.
In its cafe, which is run by the charity Betel UK which helps the homeless and addicts, the couple were confronted by a spectacular array of cakes, including a princess one with a tiara and a Union Jack cake. They were baked by volunteers and addicts in various stages of recovery.
Kate spoke to Kim Gardener, 44, who now runs Betel’s women’s houses. She said: “I came from a broken home and was addicted to heroin for close to 11 years. I have been in prostitution, I have been in prisons. She said how amazing it was that you have changed your life. She said how they want to get to addicts earlier, by doing more with families.”
Ms Gardener, who lives in Birmingham, also revealed how the best planned royal visits can have slip-ups. “We put almond milk on the table, because we had read that she had it. She said, ‘Don’t believe everything you read – I don’t even like almond milk.’”
The couple ended their day in Coventry by visiting the organisation Positive Youth Foundation which helps at risk young people in the city to stay on the right track.
William watched the youth foundation’s musical group and chatted about his tastes in music.
He praised them for having the “courage” to make the music they wanted and asked what they enjoyed listening to.
When one of them asked his tastes, the full royal range was revealed: “I listen to a bit of everything. Linkin Park when I was younger, a bit of Coldplay.”
And the man who received some mockery for his attempts at dad dancing on the floor of a nightclub in a ski resort, added, “I love my dance music as well.”
And he teased, “What did you think I’d like? Classical?” and laughed.