The Duke of Cambridge joked that his three children have been “attacking the kitchen” during lockdown as he visited a bakery which serves the Queen’s Sandringham Estate.
William went to the small family business in King’s Lynn on Friday, a short drive from his Norfolk home, Anmer Hall.
The duke heard how Smiths the Bakers, which has been trading since 1971, was managing during the pandemic.
It comes after the Duchess of Cambridge paid a visit to Fakenham Garden Centre on Thursday.
Kate heard how the independent family business had to close for seven weeks but has since reopened with safety measures in place.
William visited Smiths the Bakers in King’s Lynn’s High Street.
The bakery holds a Royal Warrant, which is a mark of recognition for those who supply goods or services to the households of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh or the Prince of Wales.
Paul Brandon, who runs the bakery business with his wife Teresa, told the duke that he had read that he had done some baking during lockdown.
“I’ve done a little bit of baking,” William said.
“The children have been attacking the kitchen and it’s just been an explosion of flour and chocolate everywhere.
“Catherine’s been doing quite a bit of baking.”
The duke was told how the bakery shop took the decision to close its doors soon after lockdown was announced as so few people were visiting the High Street, before reopening on Monday.
The business ran a home-delivery service while its shop was closed.
William heard how most of the bakery’s business comes from wholesale, including to schools which closed during lockdown, but is now starting to see customers return to the shop.
“The important thing is that shops like yours can get the footfall back in again and the High Street and town feel like it’s getting a little bit more back to normal,” the duke said.
“Because I think everyone’s just been, you know, it’s like they’ve just been in a daze.
“They don’t quite know what to make of it all.”
William heard how the bakery’s products currently have to be sealed with plastic film.
“It’s a shame because we were doing quite well on the anti-plastic and then this comes along and we have to protect the food. It’s heartbreaking,” he said.
The duke cleaned his hands with hand sanitiser on arrival and was told about safety measures at the bakery, including limiting the number of people in store at once.
In a lighter moment, he joked: “I was saying the other day about how I’m worried about the waistline of the nation.
“I think we’ve all eaten so many cakes and chocolate.
“All the NHS team, they’re so grateful, all the local communities have been giving them loads and loads of sweets and chocolate, which is great for them.
“They must be enormous now and brushing their teeth five times a day, with the amount of sugar.”
William told Mr and Mrs Brandon: “I can’t come in here and not buy anything, so have you got any pain au chocolat at all?
“Have you got any more by any chance?
“My children will not talk to me if I turn up without enough.”
He asked for five pain au chocolat but there were not enough in the shop, so he opted for four pain au chocolat and a plain croissant.
Taking out his card to pay the £4.15 total by contactless, the duke said “I hope this works”, before the transaction went through.
“Good, it’s still working – first time out in a while!”
William also spoke to bakery trainee Ted Bartram and furloughed tearoom deputy manager Sarah Easthall about how they have been coping.
The bakery presented the duke with a vanilla sponge cake with white icing, cream and jam ahead of his 38th birthday on Sunday.
It had the message “Happy Birthday Prince William from all at Smiths the Bakers” piped in blue icing on the top, and was decorated with iced football boots, footballs and Union flags.
He was also given a loaf of Norfolk crunch bread and a jar of Sandringham loose tea.
After the duke left, Mr Brandon said: “He’s a very pleasant guy.
“It’s very nice of him to come and see us.
“Being as he lives only down the road, to think he’s taken an interest in his local town and his local businesses, that’s good.”