Today, Prince William visited Milton Keynes to attend the town’s 50th anniversary celebrations, the future King’s first visit to the town. Here, he brushed off rumours of Prince Harry’s engagement, climbed a mechanical elephant and revealed Prince George’s reluctance at going to school, now he’s a few weeks into the term.
Campbell Park is where The Duke of Cambridge started his day, an area of more than 6,000 acres of parkland in the town – which means that no resident is more than half an hour from a green space.
The Duke was greeted by David Hopkins, Mayor of Milton Keynes, who emphasised how proud the residents were to receive the royal guest: “We’re incredibly proud of the progress made by Milton Keynes in its first 50 years and we’re delighted His Royal Highness will get to see some of our achievements first hand, people from Milton Keynes, during our special year”
William also made a speech, complimenting the “sense of community” he observed in the town. You can read the full speech here.
The main event took place at the MK Rose memorial, which is of particular importance to Milton Keynes’ residents: the memorial is made up of pillars which commemorate various local and international events, such as International Women’s Day and Disability Awareness Day.
During his visit to the town, The Queen’s grandson also spoke to representatives of Samaritans and local charity MK Snap, which aims to provide opportunities for adults with learning difficulties.
The royal guest also played a game of table football with members of the charity MK Dons Set, which runs in conjunction with MK Dons Football Club. The charity has developed a mental health programme, using football as a means of therapy. The Duke of Cambridge has been vocal in his support for mental health initiatives, as part of the Heads Together Campaign and an air ambulance pilot, seeing various traumatic cases.
William was then introduced to Harminder, a mechanical elephant made from recycled materials which is used to teach workshops at local schools in the area. Harminder is also used in parades, and the Royal was given the opportunity to climb on board himself.
Prince Charles’ eldest son also laughed off questions regarding the potential engagement of his younger brother, Prince Harry, to actress Meghan Markle. Since yesterday, when the couple made their first appearance together at a royal engagement at the Invictus Games, rumours of an engagement have been rife in the media.
When touring the town, William met Paul Wright, the general manager of William Cowley Parchment Makers, who make vellum used for important governmental and royal documents, including the Monarch’s permission to marry. Prince Harry would need his grandmother’s consent as he is currently 5th in line to the throne, and the first six heirs require such permission, in accordance with the 1772 Royal Marriages Act.
Raising the subject of nuptials for William’s brother, Mr Wright said: “If Prince Harry marries Meghan then his certificate will be in our vellum.” The Duke burst into laughter, but did not offer up any comment on the subject.
During the visit, The Duke of Cambridge revealed to a fellow parent that he had just dropped off rather reluctant Prince George as school earlier in the day, explaining that his four-year-old son didn’t want to go. The Prince began attending Thomas’ School in Battersea three weeks ago, and has apparently already reached the fed-up stage, a sentiment many parents will recognise.
Crowds had gathered to catch a glimpse of the VIP, and William took the time to greet and speak with members of the public who had turned out on the grey day.
Finishing the engagement, William unveiled a pillar to mark the special anniversary.