Today saw The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Coventry, including stops at the war-damaged cathedral, Coventry University, where they witnessed a fake appendectomy, and a local cafe.
William and Catherine’s first stop was the city’s well-known cathedral, which was damaged in the Second World War. Inside the rebuilt church, consecrated in 1962 witnessed by The Queen, they joined in the litany of reconciliation, which is one aim of the church as a symbol of peace thanks to its history.
They also paused in front of a replica of the Charred Cross, which can be seen in images of the aftermath of the bombing on 14th November 1940, formed when two timbers fell from the roof.
The cathedral cafe was the Duke and Duchess’ next stop, where they stopped for a cup of tea with choir members and staff. The cafe is run by a charity focussed on helping the homeless and addicts – areas in which a number of the couple’s patronages work. For the special visit, there was a variety of cakes, some of which were royal themed; all were baked by volunteers and addicts in various stages of recovery.
One worker at the cafe revealed how they had ensured there was almond milk available for Kate, after having read she was a fan of the dairy-alternative. Ms Gardener, from Birmingham, said: “We put almond milk on the table, because we had read that she had it. She said, ‘Don’t believe everything you read – I don’t even like almond milk.’”
Back outside, the royal couple spent time chatting to the crowds, and the Duchess noticed one young boy, who had been waiting in the cold for hours to see the Royals, felt ill. Kate noticed, asking if he was alright, and quickly hurried over to one of her protection officers for a paper bag.
Carole Flynn, a learning mentor from the boy’s school said: “He went quite pale. She came over to speak to him, and noticed he was not very well. She asked if he was OK. She bent down, and was concerned.”
“It was lovely of her,” said Ms Flynn. “She really took time with him. You can tell she is a mum, and has got that caring side.”
Catherine also received a bunch of orange flowers from well-wishers, and she remarked that Prince George loves orange and ‘police colours’
Speaking to other members of the public, the Duchess revealed that both Prince George and Princess Charlotte have Aston Villa kits, the team that Prince William supports.
Coventry University came next on the agenda; here, William and Kate visited a new training centre for nurses, midwives and paramedics.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge opened the £59 million facility and spent time meeting students. Part of the engagement saw them follow the medical journey of a fictional patient at the centre, and included a paramedic ambulance simulator, operating theatre, rehabilitation area and adapted living houses.
Students Neelum Choudhray and Dan Read, who are training to be operating department practitioners in surgery, were taking part in a mock operation for the visit, complete with the bowel exposed, medical equipment and swabs with blood.
“How realistic is the operation for you – can it simulate pretty much anything?” the Duke asked. He recently saw real surgery at the Royal Marsden hospital, where two patients had tumours removed via robotic surgery.
As William and Kate moved on, the Prince said: “We won’t stand and watch you here all day.”
William and Kate also did the ‘wiggle dance’ when they joined occupational therapist, Annette Roebuck, in a communication session. Ms Roebuck helps people with learning difficulties or other conditions to teach communication skills.
The Duke and Duchess, who are expecting their third child in April, put their hands above their heads and moved the hips from side to side, giggling.
Ms Roebuck who is a director of the organisation Communicate2U said: “The wiggle message is very powerful, and the Royals were happy to take part. It was empowering to have Steven and Alysia as the teachers, rather than being seen as the ones with the problems.
Watch William and Kate enthusiastically do the ‘wiggle dance’ ? pic.twitter.com/btPz0c2nxZ
— Press Association (@PA) January 16, 2018
“The chorus is ‘learn from us wiggle, wiggle, wiggle’ we’re saying ‘you’ve got to see us as communicating beings, learn from us, mirror our communication style’.”
The Royals’ final visit was to the Positive Youth Foundation, an organisation which helps at-risk young people in the city to stay on the right track.
After watching a music group at the centre, Prince William spoke about his music taste. He praised them for having the “courage” to make the music they wanted and asked what they enjoyed listening to.
“I listen to a bit of everything,” he said. “Linkin Park when I was younger, a bit of Coldplay.”
The last visit for The Duke and Duchess today is to @PositiveYouth96– which works with over 2,500 young people each year who find themselves living in challenging circumstances. pic.twitter.com/UDFnQHE8AN
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 16, 2018
The Duke also said “I love my dance music as well.” We were reminded of his dance moves, which were caught by paparazzi last March, on the dance floor of a bar whilst on a ski trip.
At the giggles, he replied: “What did you think I’d like? Classical?” and laughed.
The organisation gifted the royal couple a baby grow and hat with their branding upon.
— Positive Youth Foundation (@positiveyouth96) January 16, 2018