The Duke of Cambridge headed to a King’s Lynn bakery today, where he picked up some pastries and was given a birthday cake! The visit was to check in with local Norfolk businesses to understand how they have been coping since the pandemic and lockdown.
Prince William went to Smiths The Bakers, a family-owned bakery on the High Street, near the Cambridges’ Anmer Hall home. The business has been serving the local community for 50 years and holds a Royal Warrant.
Cleaning his hands with hand sanitiser on arrival, the Royal was told about safety measures at the bakery, including limiting the number of people in store at one time. Smiths have reopened after 11 weeks.
The Duke spoke about how coronavirus restrictions have affect the family-run business with owners Paul and Teresa Brandon; 80% of the company’s wholesale customers have had to close their businesses.
Smiths have changed their business model to survive, by offering delivery and selling new products to help with home baking, like flour and sugar.
Across the rest of the country, public borrowing has hit a record high; the nation’s debt has now passed 100% of economic output.
Of course, the effect hasn’t only been economic, but personal, too: official figures put coronavirus cases at over 300,000, with 42,288 deaths.
The Royal picked up pain au chocolat and croissants for his family, as he spoke to the owners and staff.
“I can’t come in here and not buy anything, so have you got any pain au chocolat at all?” he asked. “Have you got any more by any chance? My children will not talk to me if I turn up without enough.”
William paid for his purchases – totalling £4.15 – on his card, using contactless. He said: “I hope this works. Good, it’s still working – first time out in a while!”
He was also asked about baking at home during lockdown, a pastime many have turned to.
“Well, I’ve done a little bit of baking,” he 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 of Cambridge shared his frustration that many food products now have to be wrapped in plastic, as a means to maintain hygiene. “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.”
During a visit to the local ambulance station earlier this week, the Duke revealed he has been eating a lot of chocolate, prompting him to say he is worried about the nation’s waistlines.
His sweet tooth was given a boost as he was given a personalised birthday cake ahead of his 38th on Sunday, which is also Fathers’ Day.
The square cake was decorated with blue writing, reading ‘Happy birthday Prince William from all at Smiths the Bakers’, and fondant football boots.
The Queen also sent a message of support for British businesses today, as patron of the British Chambers of Commerce.
“As many organisations around the country are reopening, I send my warmest best wishes and support to business communities throughout the United Kingdom, Commonwealth and across the world,” the statement said.
“At a time of great difficulty for many, it is heart-warming to see the civic response and generosity of so many businesses, small and large, to the challenges posed, whether supporting the health sector or vulnerable communities.”