The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent a busy day in Manchester, visiting the National Football Museum, a local hospice and honouring war dead.
William and Kate arrived in the city by helicopter just after 11 o’clock. The Royal couple attended multiple engagements spread throughout the day beginning at the National Football Museum in the city centre. Crowds were excited to catch a glimpse of the Royal couple, with school children donning masks of members of the Royal Family, including the Duke and Duchess.
Firstly, William was asked whether he was ‘a red or a blue’ by the Manchester United Girls club, the ladies wanting to know where his loyalties lay, Manchester United and Manchester City. However, Prince William only disclosed that he “supports Villa”. It is thought that The Queen and Prince Harry are both Arsenal fans.
After this, the Royal couple met representatives of the Coach Core Apprenticeship scheme. The scheme gives young people aged 16-24 the chance to become inspirational sports coaches of the future.
The Duke of Cambridge revealed that surprisingly, it is his daughter who is doing better at the sport: Charlotte shows “more aptitude” for football than George, said William, but that his son “is getting into it slowly!”
Following this, William managed to get his hands on the 1966 World Cup football used in England’s only successful international tournament, before managing to score on the penalty shootout. A keen footballer, the Duke and his brother, Harry, play a charity football match each Christmas.
William and Kate then took a few minutes to say hello to the excited crowds waiting outside before departing for the cenotaph at Manchester town hall. A short service took place here, where the Cambridges laid a wreath and unveiled six commemorative paving stones, each honouring one WWI Victoria Cross recipient from the area. The service concluded with the singing of the National Anthem, after which the Duke and Duchess spoke with families of the VC recipients inside the town hall.
The next stop was the Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester. William and Kate were told that “Manchester is the place to be” and were then informed of the medical benefits of bio-sciences. Graphene is the world’s first two-dimensional material: it is 200x stronger than steel, also transparent, flexible and more conductive than copper. Isolated from graphite by physicists Sir Andre Geim and Sir Kostya Novoselov in 2004, and demonstrating its remarkable properties won them the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010.
The couple were also shown the world’s first car made partially with the material by the Nobel prize winners. William joked, “I think everyone wants me to get in the car”, referring to the eager press.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Manchester, which runs the institute, Dame Nancy Rothwell remarked: “It’s a snug fit.” The Prince, known to be a keen motorcycle rider and fan of all things with a powerful engine, also received a miniature replica of the car.
After this, the Duke and Duchess signed their own photograph before unveiling a plaque at the university’s time capsule, adding the last item. The capsule will be displayed within the new Manchester Engineering Campus Development building once it is completed in 2020.
Finally, William and Catherine made their way to their last engagement of the day, at Francis House hospice. Caring for 370 sick children, teenagers and young adults, they were shown around the centre’s new lodge. The lodge was the dying wish of 21 yr old, Stephan Ryan, who wanted an area just for teenage and young adult care. Children’s hospice care is something the Duchess has championed and raised awareness of in recent years.
The Duke and Duchess then unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion. Francis House tweeted that the visit was “great and memorable” and that it was “enjoyed by families, staff and volunteers.”