The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent the day in Bradford yesterday, to see projects that ‘promote cohesion’ in the city, which is one of the UK’s most diverse.
Prince William and Kate were welcomed the Centenary Square by hundreds of locals, who were waiting to greet them. The Duchess was dressed in a green coat from McQueen – more on her outfit here.
Their first engagement was at Bradford City Hall, where they spoke to young people about life in the city and with local employers who are helping youngsters to get into employment.
The Duke got chatting to some people about football, and his team Aston Villa.
Outside, they undertook a walkabout to meet the public, with the Prince demonstrating his sign language skills that he had demonstrated at an investiture the day before.
Next on the agenda was a stop at MyLahore, a British-Asian restaurant and were joined by boxer, Amir Khan. The restaurant takes its inspiration from Lahore, which is considered to be the food capital of Pakistan.
Inside, they met students from Bradford College taking part in an apprenticeship scheme and got the chance to make mango and kulfi milkshakes in the kitchen, alongside operations director Ishfaq Farooq. William and Catherine both chose to add ice cream to the mix, and blended up their own drinks.
The future King called his beverage ‘delicious’, and the couple couldn’t help but giggle as they whizzed the mix together. William also asked about the sourcing of the ingredients.
They got to hear about some of the charitable work that the restaurant does to support the community.
It is thought that the couple were particularly interested in following up with the British-Pakistani community after their visit to Pakistan in October. Approximately 1 in 5 people in Bradford have Pakistani heritage.
Boxer Amir Khan, a friend of the family who own MyLahore, spoke to William about his boxing foundation and mental health in sport.
He also commented to the press on the ‘Sandringham Summit’ and the issue of the future of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, a saga that began only last week but has dominated headlines across Britain, and even abroad.
Khan said he felt for the family and thought they needed to sit down together to resolve the issues. He also said he had never personally experienced any racism in the UK: “I’m British, I’ve lived in Britain all my life. I feel that Meghan will also be welcomed because the people in Britain are very loving.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge then visited the Bradford Khidmat Centre, which is devoted to helping vulnerable members of society from minority ethnic backgrounds.
There was an amazing welcome inside, as a large cake display was shown to them, telling the story of both of their lives to date through edible pictures. A local baker, Siama Ali’ who spent three days on the creation, was complimented by the Duchess, who said “That’s incredible,” and called it ‘so clever’.
William joked: “Mary Berry would be very impressed.”
He was also shocked to see a photo of himself as a child, and commented on the resemblance between himself and daughter Princess Charlotte.
Watch ??William was “wowed” when he saw Siama Ali’s amazing “William & Kate” cake. And he thought the picture of him as a baby was Charlotte “our little Lottie” he said, pointing it out to Kate. @cupcakerbradford on Insta, check it out! pic.twitter.com/4Yc2BeHljg
— Emily Andrews (@byEmilyAndrews) January 15, 2020
The Duchess stopped to chat with some women who were crocheting, revealing that she attempted to take up knitting when she was first had Prince George. “I tried knitting when I first had George. I tried to knit him a very special jumper, but I got half way down and it splattered. It’s such an amazing skill.”
A workshop run by Near Neighbours at the Khidmat Centre also received a royal visit; the group helps people in diverse communities to get to know each other better, build relationships of trust and improve their neighbourhoods.
Before they left, the couple were asked by social entrepreneur Kamran Rashid their opinion of the city. William replied: “You can see that communities are trying to come together, trying to help each other, get to know each other and that is really crucial.
“If we can replicate that more across the country, then it can only be for good.”
The next stop at the centre was a session supported by Better Start Bradford, which delivers over 20 projects to pregnant women and families with children under the age of four.
William and Kate met locals, who have completed the ‘Older Yet Wiser’ course, a workshop for grandparents who have child-caring responsibilities for their grandchildren.
The Duchess was particularly taken with one youngster, Sorayah Ahmad, 18 months, whose grandma was there to attend one of the courses. Kate held the toddler and danced with her.
Jo and Ian Broadbent care for their six-year-old granddaughter and have completed this course. Speaking about meeting Catherine they said: “Kate obviously has a great interest in early years development, she’s quite knowledgeable about it, she referred to some of the tools and techniques we learnt about on the course.
We also got a little update on Prince Louis, who we saw heading to Buckingham Palace for The Queen’s Christmas lunch back in December.
“I asked how her children were. Kate said Louis had started to tell her ‘Mummy, I’m balancing’ and she said it was really nice to see him turning into a little boy from being a baby. She’s obviously very proud of her children.”