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William and Kate greet well-wishers at Coventry Cathedral

The Duke and Duchess are on a day trip to open a training centre for medical staff in the city.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have walked through the ruins of Coventry Cathedral cheered by hundreds of flag-waving schoolchildren and well-wishers.

William and Kate began their day in the city by visiting its famous landmark which was destroyed by bombing during the Second World War but is now a symbol of hope and peace.

The youngsters waving union flags lined the nave of the former place of worship which still has many of its walls intact, although the roof is gone.

The Duchess, who is pregnant with her third child, shook hands and collected flowers from well-wishers.

Her growing bump was hidden under a bright pink double-breasted Mulberry coat.

The Duchess of Cambridge meeting well-wishers at Coventry Cathedral (Aaron Chown/PA)

In a poignant moment, William and Kate will stop in front of a replica of the Charred Cross – spotted in the aftermath of the bombing on November 14 1940 – which was formed from two timbers that fell from the roof.

The couple were taking part in the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation.

The litany is inspired by the story of Coventry Cathedral, aimed at healing the wounds of history and building a culture of peace.

The Cambridges were also meeting members of the choir before having a cup of tea with staff and volunteers at the Rising Cafe, a social enterprise aimed at providing work and opportunity for those overcoming drug and alcohol addictions.

Later they will learn about an innovative training centre for nurses, midwives and paramedics when they open the £59 million facility at Coventry University.

The Duke of Cambridge

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.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge speak to staff as they tour the Science and Health Building at Coventry University (Eamonn M McCormack/PA)

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.

The Duchess of Cambridge meeting with staff and volunteers (PA)

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.

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph