Prince William and Kate Middleton admit they don’t know what to do for Christmas

Prince William and Kate Middleton admit they don’t know what to do for Christmas

 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have admitted they are not sure what to do at Christmas this year as they speak to students on the last day of their royal train tour.

Prince William and Kate, who wore a red Alexander McQueen coat, joined students from Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and the University of South Wales as they unwrapped their Secret Santa gifts to one another.

But the royal pair explained they were still struggling over their plans for Christmas as many families are with coronavirus restrictions lifted for five days.

The couple told students in Cardiff that they didn’t know who to spend the festive season with as the Queen last week made the decision to cancel her annual family get together at Sandringham.

“It is so difficult, we are still trying to make plans,” William said.

“It’s difficult to know what to do for the best.”

Lily Faulkner, 21, a second year Politics and International Studies student at Cardiff University said afterwards.

“They were trying like the rest of us to make Christmas plans with their family and still weren’t 100 percent sure of what they were going to do or where they were going to be,” she said.

William and Kate are on a two-day Christmas cheer tour across England, Scotland and Wales, on the Royal Train to thank individual and organisations who have helped their communities during the pandemic.

Their first stop today was at Cardiff Castle in South Wales where they met local students from Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan and University and the University of South Wales to hear about some fo the challenges they have experienced, particularly as regards their mental health.

Cardiff Castle has been turned into a winter wonderland – albeit a socially-distanced one – with illuminations and a food market.

The couple grabbed sticks loaded with giant marshmallows to toast around a small bonfire with Lily and two fellow students, Azaria Anaman, 23, who is in her first year of accounting and finance, and Shahzeb Akhtar, 21, who is his third year of studying optometry.

Kate struggled with her marshmallows, which kept sliding on her stick, and at one point giggled as it got stuck on her gloves.
“I think I am going to have marshmallows on my fingers all day,” she joked.

William eventually had to put his down on the fire.

“It’s got to go a little bit brown bit not as brown as this one,” he grimaced. “I‘ve not been paying attention.”

Kate told the students that she had ordered marshmallows for their three children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – for their bonfire night celebrations.

The small ones, she explained, normally slip off onto the fire, so she ordered giant ones – like the ones they were holding.

“I ordered them for the children. There was a bit of a sugar rush,” she said, laughing and rolling her eyes.

William commented that it was ‘the first jab today’, highlight the news that the first anti-Covid vaccines are being rolled out, and asked the group: “How have all you guys been? Have you been able to make any Christmas plans?”

Lily was particularly touched to speak to the couple about mental health issues, having struggled with her own following the sad death of her father when she was just 18.

“It was really good to talk to them about it. They were keen to know about how we dealt with it and helped each other,” she said.

“They are such mental health advocates and when you struggle with mental health it can sometimes be really scary to come forward and say that you need the help. And when people like the Duke and Duchess say they support it, it is really reassuring. It’s ok to not be ok, sometimes.

“It been interesting to say this least, this term. Very different. But it’s nice to know there has been support there and I have another year when hopefully we can go back to normality.”

The students said they only found out five minutes before the couple’s arrival who the mystery VIP visitors were going to be.
“We had no idea it was this VIP,” joked Shahzeb.

Azaria said: “It’s really good to know that they are interest in hearing about students and that they have had a tough time too.

“Fortunately we have been really supported here. The way we have adapted to doing lectures virtually combined with traditional teaching, blended learning, it’s been good.”

The duke and duchess spent several minutes sitting down at a distance to chat to other groups of students about their experience at university this year.

Their last group was comprised six housemates who had ‘bubbled’ together, all studying a mixture of sports science and education, with whom they had agreed to take part in a ‘Secret Santa’ gift swap.

They all eagerly tore off the wrapping paper from their gifts and Kate had the group in giggles when it emerged that she had given Gwennan Lewis, 20, from Newport, a £13.99 ‘Prosecco Pong’ game.

It was comprised of several plastic glasses and balls and involves participants taking turns to throw a ball into their opponent’s glass and take a drink every time someone shoots and scores.

William bought Dewi Morgan, 19, who is in his second year of studying sport and exercise science at Cardiff Metropolitan, a finger flick table football game.

The Duchess coo-ed over a traditional Welsh Love Spoon that she had been bought, while William laughed at his Guinness beer mat flipping game. “I think this says a lot about me,” he laughed.

“I really hope you get to see your families this Christmas,” he told the group.

Kate asked: “Is there much in your course that covers mental wellbeing? Have you had much support?”

Dewi told her: “As a house we have all supported each other . Some students have felt really isolated but have been very lucky.”

Afterwards Dewi joked that he had been tempted to buy the duke a ‘box of hairbands’ in a humorous nod to his thinning hair, but wasn’t sure how William would take it.

He said: “I bottled it! I bottled it!

“We could only spend a fiver and I thought the game would be a laugh.”

Gwennan said: “We were meant to get something that represents us or the person we were giving it to. But it was £5 maximum.

“I like the Prosecco pong, it’s fun. Something to do at Christmas!”

The group said the had been really touched the couple had come to visit.

“It’s great,” said Gwennan. “A real shock but fantastic. It shows that they care that they want to come and check in on. Particularly chatting about our mental health. We couldn’t quite believe it.”

Dewi added: “It was pretty surreal.

“But it was good to talk to them about what we have been through.There has been a lot of support from the university, The tutors had been great.”

It comes after the Queen and Prince Philip announced their decision to spend Christmas at Windsor Castle this year.

The Royal Family traditionally spends Christmas at Sandringham but coronavirus restrictions, which allow for just three households to mix, means other plans have been made.

The visit to Wales has been met with some criticism after Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething, said he would prefer it if “no-one was having unnecessary visits”.

Mr Gething said he was not “particularly bothered or interested” when asked during by BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if he thought the couple should still travel to Wales.

But he said William and Kate’s visit, part of a national tour by royal train, should not be used by people as an “excuse” to say they are “confused” about coronavirus regulations.

Mr Gething echoed the sentiment of Scotland’s First Nicola Sturgeon, who suggested the duke and duchess travelled to Edinburgh on Monday despite their office being made aware of restrictions for those wanting to cross the border.

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