Prince William in Birmingham – Victoria crosses & vulnerable youths

It was a day in Birmingham for The Duke of Cambridge today, and he began by honouring local Victoria Cross recipients and the war dead.

Outside The Hall of Memory in Centenary Square, Prince William unveiled ten memorial paving stones for Brummie soldiers who received Victoria Crosses during the First World War.

A relative of one VC recipient, Bill Edisbury, spoke with the Duke, and showed him the front page of The Daily Mirror from 1919. The newspaper shows his second cousin, James William Marshall, receiving the award, which Queen Victoria began in 1857, to recognise valour in the face of the enemy.

Prince William, 33, then commemorated the 12,320 Birmingham men and women who died in WWI with a wreath, after a short service inside the Hall of Memory.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh did the same three weeks ago.

Next, it was to Saltley Academy for the father of Prince George and Princess Charlotte, to learn about the Football for Peace initiative.

Football for Peace is a global project that aims to bring diverse communities together, and improve relationships. Seven schools from across England’s second city play the game together.

William took part in a penalty shoot out with a promising young goalkeeper from the area, 13-year-old Dominik Rynkar. The Duke took four penalites, three of which the youngster saved: “Dominik you’re too steady a keeper,” the Royal remarked.


It was then discovered that Dominik was also an Aston Villa fan like Prince William.

“You know you’re not meant to save this you know. Go that way, we’ll have a little deal an I’ll go into that corner,” William joked.

This is The Duke of Cambridge’s third visit to Birmingham in three years.

Inside, William handed out awards to youngsters, before receiving gifts for his family; these included a doll named ‘Charlotte’, a toy bunkbed and some clothes for his 6-month-old daughter.

Continuing work with young people, the second-in-line travelled to Bournville College, to hear about the Diana Award and its anti-bullying campaign.

The award was set up in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales. Currently, it trains anti-bullying ambassadors at schools to help with bullying prevention, including embracing diversity, but also how to tackle bullying when it occurs.

During a diversity and difference exercise, William wrote down a number of things about himself: ‘I wear glasses’, ‘I am a Prince’, ‘I am very tall’ and ‘I am a Christian’.

He was then given collage poster of himself; it was created through an interactive photography activity that took place today. William sat in front of a green screen as the young people took photos of him; they then lay parts of photos of other people on top, to represent the differences but cohesion between people

The air ambulance pilot also enjoyed a rap performance from children at the college, which spoke about bullying.

St Basils in West Bromwich was the Duke’s last stop, an organisation he also visited last year.

The charity supports homeless young people in the West Midlands, and working with the NHS to create affordable shared accommodation and apprenticeships. Prince William took a tour of the former nurses’ accommodation which is now being used for young apprentices in the area, before chatting with those benefitting from the scheme.

Homelessness is a cause William is passionate about. He is patron of Centrepoint, and gave a former homeless student an interview, having promised her a scoop in 2011 if she got her life back on track.

He also slept on the streets of London for one night in 2009 to raise awareness for the cause.

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