On the heels of their glittering appearance at the new James Bond film premiere for “No Time to Die”, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had a busy day of events in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland on Wednesday.
As this was the first visit to the area for the royal couple, Prince William and Catherine were keen to visit Ulster University’s Magee Campus.
Earlier this year, the Duke and Duchess chatted with some nursing students from the university via video call, and were able to discuss what it was like for them to study during the pandemic and to be a part of the COVID response in Northern Ireland.
While at the Magee Campus, the Cambridges were able to meet with some of the nursing students that they had spoken to and find out how they have progressed with their studies throughout the epidemic.
The future King asked the students: “What’s happened since we last spoke to you, is it going ok, is it good to actually be back learning here? Has your interest been sparked by the pandemic?”
“It’s so good to be back, and we’ve had great support from the university,” one told him.
Additionally, the couple was shown a new, specially-designed simulated ambulance that has been constructed on the campus. The ambulance simulator is the only one of its kind in the region and will be used to train the very first group of students who are studying the new BSc Hons Paramedic Science programme in the country; the university is offering this new course to help support and promote the development of the paramedic profession throughout NI.
After the demonstration of the ambulance, Catherine said to the students: “Sorry to put you under so much pressure, this is probably only the second time you’ve done it!”
The next stop for the Royals was a visit to the university’s new School of Medicine. The school was established in the past year as a response to the nationwide shortage of workers in the medical field.
William and Catherine – Baron and Baroness Carrickfergus, when in Northern Ireland – met with the first contingent of medical students accepted into the school. Having received a £1 million investment, the new school is equipped with high-tech and highly specialised facilities. A demonstration in clinical skills was provided for the couple by Medicine, Nursing, as well as Paramedic students.
A bit of fun was had by all while visiting the university’s campus zoo! Organised by a local mobile zoo company called KidzFarm, the Cambridges were treated to a fun and interactive display of animals. KidzFarm regularly visits the campus with their animals to provide students with a way to deal with anxiety and mental health stresses.
The Duchess asked if she might hold the tarantula spider: “Ooh, please can I hold the tarantula? What’s her name?”
She laughed when she was told the the spider’s name is Charlotte – the same as her daughter!
As the spider started crawling, the Duke joked that the spider was animated by his wife’s outfit: “Maybe she’s not so keen on purple, or she maybe thinks you’re a flower.”
Funnily enough, Princess Charlotte is a big fan of spiders herself, mentioning her interest in arachnids in her video question for Sir David Attenborough shared last year.
Prince William joined in by handling one of the zoo’s pythons and shared that his children were not going to believe that he actually held the snake. He added that he thought that Prince George might be a bit upset that he wasn’t there to get the chance to hold the reptile.
“George is obsessed with snakes, he’s going to be so upset he missed this,” he said.
The couple were overheard to say they had acquired ‘lots of chickens’, with the Duchess saying that animals could be ‘like therapy’ in lockdown.
Next it was on to an event at the Student Union called ‘Culture Shock’, designed to help students embrace their university experience outside of just their studies. It additionally helps to encourage inclusivity within the student body.
The Duke and Duchess took part in some of the word games that the students were playing, specifically one that quizzed them on how to pronounce Irish name; they even learned some of the city’s famous phrases that have become popular due to the world-famous TV show “Derry Girls”.
Dropping into the Student Union for a special ‘Culture Shock’ event — @UlsterUni promotes an inclusive student body by welcoming new students to Northern Ireland at special introductory events. pic.twitter.com/e0eAQCLSSY
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) September 29, 2021
A visit to the Student Union would not be complete without a bit of Irish food to sample! The Cambridges enjoyed some delicious Irish fare including a bit of whisky, some Tayto crisps, wheaten bread and a bit of Guinness…!
Student Union President Owen McClaskey, one of the hosts for the day, expressed that he felt the visit had been great. He also stated that: “They got a sample of Irish music, Irish names and really got stuck into it, as well as a wee Guinness, I think if there were another two hours in this tour, they would have stayed.”
A musical performance by the students was a perfect way to cap off the Duke and Duchess’ visit to the campus.
After a quick change, William and Catherine made their way to the City of Derry Rugby Club. The Duke and Duchess met with the coaches, players and the volunteers who are involved in the Sport Uniting Communities initiative between the Irish Football Association, the Ulster Gaelic Athletic Association, and Ulster Rugby. This sporting initiative aims to promote peace and reconciliation between athletes and communities.
The royal couple chatted with young players and heard from members of some local clubs about the ways in which the initiative has helped to bring together communities from various backgrounds.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Duke and Duchess event without Catherine and William taking part in a friendly rivalry match. We will leave it up to you to decide who the better player is!