Duchess of Cambridge stunned by surprise meet with former teachers

4 February 2020, 14:01

The Duchess of Cambridge met with two of her prep school teachers
The Duchess of Cambridge met with two of her prep school teachers. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

The Duchess of Cambridge received a welcome surprise when two of her former prep school teachers came to visit her on a Royal trip to Wales.

The Duchess of Cambridge was stunned to meet two of her prep school teachers during a visit to Wales.

Kate hugged Denise Evans-Alford and Kevin Alford after spotting them outside Joe's Ice Cream Parlour in the Mumbles.

She said: "It's such a small world," before reminiscing about her days at St Andrew's prep school in Pangbourne, Berkshire.

The teachers had not seen the duchess since she was 14, when she visited her brother James at the school with her sister Pippa.

Kate told them: "I want to instil in my children the life I had at St Andrew's."

The couple drove from their home in Carmarthen to try to say hello to Kate, who was visiting the ice cream parlour with her husband William.

They passed a note explaining who they were to a police officer, and were delighted when Kate came out to meet them.

"It was wonderful she gave us so much time," Mr Alford, who taught French and German, said.

"She said it's such a small world, and she hadn't expected to see her ex-teachers in Swansea.

"We saw her last when she and Pippa came back to school to visit James, she was 14. We haven't seen her since then.

"Obviously we've been following her career. She was in a wonderful class of girls and they got on so well together."

Mr Alford said he enjoyed teaching Kate and the other pupils in her class so much that he asked to do so for an extra year.

Both teachers said how much Kate had liked her time at the prep school.

"She loved it so much," said Mrs Evans-Alford, who taught PE. "We had such a fantastic time there. She was in my netball team and rounders team.

"She was wonderful. She hasn't changed a bit at all, you can tell. Pippa and James were wonderful too."

After leaving St Andrew's, Kate studied at Downe House and Marlborough College.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Mumbles, South Wales
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Mumbles, South Wales. Picture: PA

The royal couple visited the RNLI's Mumbles lifeboat station overlooking Swansea Bay in South Wales on Tuesday.

It is one of Wales' busiest lifeboat stations and provides 24-hour rescue services at sea.

William and Kate boarded a lifeboat and spoke to crew members about day-to-day life as part of the team.

During the tour of the lifeboat station, William presented employee James Bolter with a medal to mark 20 years of service.

They then watched the lifeboat launch as a part of a training exercise, before walking back down the pier to meet many of the hundreds of members of the public who had gathered to see them.

The Duke and Duchess spoke to volunteers at the lifeboat centre
The Duke and Duchess spoke to volunteers at the lifeboat centre. Picture: PA

The duke and duchess also spoke with Paul O'Dwyer who was rescued by the crew last summer after his yacht broke down.

Speaking afterwards, Mr O'Dwyer, 41, said: "It was fantastic to meet them. They both spoke to each of us for a good while.

"I'm so grateful for the time they gave to speak to all of us."

The couple were visiting the RNLI Mumbles Lifeboat Station, near Swansea in south Wales.
The couple were visiting the RNLI Mumbles Lifeboat Station, near Swansea in south Wales. Picture: PA

Mr O'Dwyer, who works at Tata Steel, was rescued by the lifeboat last summer when his yacht suffered engine failure on the Gower Peninsula.

He was on the first day of a two-week sailing holiday with his wife and two young children and had to be towed back to Swansea by the lifeboat.

Kate and William spoke to members of the crowd during their visit
Kate and William spoke to members of the crowd during their visit. Picture: PA

"It took two-and-a-half hours to get back as on the way back the lifeboat had three other shouts and they let us go," said Mr O'Dwyer, from Port Talbot.

"We had to put the sails up and they came back and got us. Our holiday was cut short and we had to go camping for two weeks instead."

The Cambridges met with local primary school children
The Cambridges met with local primary school children. Picture: PA

William and Kate were greeted with crowds cheering and waving Welsh flags as they arrived at Joe's Ice Cream Parlour on Mumbles sea front.

They met directors of the family company, which is in its fifth generation, before being served ice cream by staff.

William had told managing director Adrian Hughes that he liked chocolate ice cream and so was served two varieties, one vanilla in a cone with chocolate sprinkles and one chocolate in a cup with a wafer.

The royal couple received a warm welcome from crowds
The royal couple received a warm welcome from crowds. Picture: PA

Kate had a vanilla ice cream in a cup with a wafer, the same served to five nursery children she and William met in the shop.

She pointed to her ice cream and said "snap" to the children before confessing that she did not think she would be able to finish all of her larger portion.

The parents of the children, from Oystermouth Primary School, said they had all completed the duchess's survey on the early years.

The station is one of the busiest in Wales
The station is one of the busiest in Wales. Picture: PA

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