William and Kate visit Bradford amid tumultuous times for royal family

  • Video report by ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have returned to royal duties for their first official engagement of the year following a tumultuous week for the royal family.

William and Kate arrived in Bradford on Wednesday to cheers from several hundred well-wishers on Centenary Square.

During their visit to Bradford City Hall, they spoke to young people about life in the West Yorkshire city, and with local employers helping youngsters to get jobs.

The couple visited a number of projects that promote cohesion within one of the UK’s most diverse cities.

After speaking with young people about their career prospects, the duke and duchess spoke with local business leaders.

William took the opportunity to speak with one of them about his beloved Aston Villa.

Speaking about injured goalkeeper Tom Heaton, he said: "Poor Tom, it's a horrible injury."

He agreed that new signing Danny Drinkwater needs "more game time" before looking round and joking: "I realise we're going to start talking about football [now]."

Their visit to Braford came just days after the Queen agreed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex could step back as senior royals and begin a “new life” as an “independent” family.

Following a summit at Sandringham on Monday, Buckingham Palace confirmed Harry and Meghan would begin a “transition period” in which they would split their time between the UK and Canada.

Speaking at an official engagement, Prince William said: “It’s okay to have these challenges, we just need to deal with them, we need to move forward, rather than be stuck in paralysis and pretend they don't happen."

ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship said even though the duke was talking about community relations, his comments could be interpreted as reflections on his own family and his brother's decision to step back from the Royal family.

Chris Ship wonders whether William wasn't talking about his family situation in his comments in Bradford:

The duke and duchess arrived at MyLahore's flagship restaurant in a navy blue Range Rover.

Small crowds cheered as they got out of the vehicle and a group of children waved Union flags from their pushchairs.

The couple were greeted by restaurant CEO Asghar Ali and managing director Shakoor Ahmed.

They are expected to hear about some of the charitable work that the restaurant does to support the community.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge help make Kulfi milkshakes at MyLahores flagship restaurant in Bradford. Credit: PA

Boxer Amir Khan, a friend of the family who own MyLahore, met the duke and duchess during their visit to the restaurant.

He said he spoke to William about his boxing foundation and mental health in sport.

Asked about Harry and Meghan, Khan said he felt for the family and thought they needed to sit down together to resolve the issues.

He said he had never personally experienced any racism in the UK.

He said: "I'm British, I've lived in Britain all my life.

"I feel that Meghan will also be welcomed because the people in Britain are very loving."

William and Kate's first stop in the restaurant was in the kitchen, where they met students from Bradford College taking part in an apprenticeship scheme.

They then went on to make mango and kulfi milkshakes under the guidance of operations director Ishfaq Farooq.

The duke and duchess chose ice cream to add to their drinks and mixed them using blenders.

William said his milkshake was "delicious" and went on to ask staff about the origin of ingredients used.

MyLahore is a British Asian restaurant that takes its inspiration from Lahore, which is known as the food capital of Pakistan.

The Duchess of Cambridge meets representatives from the UK Womens Muslim Council and women whose lives have benefitted from the Councils Curry Circle during a visit to MyLahore restaurant in Bradford. Credit: PA

The royal couple then arrived at the Bradford Khidmat Centre, which is devoted to helping vulnerable members of society from minority ethnic backgrounds.

They were greeted by a crowd of cheering well-wishers and a drummer.

After hearing about the community hub's work, they will join in a session involving groups supported by Better Start Bradford, which delivers projects to pregnant women and families with children under the age of four.

They will then meet families from the Older Yet Wiser project, which supports grandparents with child-caring responsibilities.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet representatives from the UK Womens Muslim Council and women whose lives have benefitted from the Councils Curry Circle during a visit to MyLahore restaurant in Bradford. Credit: PA

As they walked in, the royals were shown a huge cake which tells the story of both of their lives to date through edible pictures.

When she saw the cake, baked by Bradford baker Siama Ali, Kate said it was "really clever", adding: "That's incredible."

William joked: "Mary Berry would be impressed."

Kate then met some ladies who were midway through crocheting, who showed her hearts and little blankets they had made for her three children.

The duchess told them: "I tried knitting when I first had George. I tried to knit him a very special jumper, but I got half way down and it splattered."She added: "It's such an amazing skill."

The Duchess of Cambridge spoke to people of all ages. Credit: PA

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge concluded their trip after leaving the centre.

Before they left, the couple were asked by social entrepreneur Kamran Rashid, 36, about their opinion of the West Yorkshire city.

William responded: "The diversity of Bradford has always been very intriguing.

"I think what you are all doing to help each other and bring the community together is very powerful. You can see that communities are trying to come together, trying to help each other, get to know each other and that is really crucial.

"If we can replicate that more across the country then it can only be for good - bringing everybody together, which is the reason why we want to get round the UK now and see as many places in the UK we may not have been very much to, and try to understand some of the more complex challenges."

Mr Rashid said - on behalf of Bradford - that the royal couple are "more than welcome" to return whenever they wish, adding that their children can come themselves when they are grown up.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leaving after a visit to a Khidmat Centre in Bradford to hear about the activities and workshops offered at the centre and the organisations that they support. Credit: PA

The long, military style khaki coat worn by the duchess is by British designer Alexander McQueen.

Kate wore the coat zipped up to the top as she arrived at the engagement, paired with black pointed court style heels, a small black bag and gold drop earrings by Zeen.

The Pakistani jewellery designer was favoured by the duchess during the couple's royal visit to Pakistan in October.

Underneath the coat, Kate wears a midi-length black and white tartan pussybow dress from high street retailer Zara.

The Duchess of Cambridge spoke to children. Credit: PA
Prince William greeted people in the crowd. Credit: PA

It also emerged on Tuesday that Meghan’s father could give evidence against her in her legal battle with the Mail On Sunday should it go to trial.

High Court documents revealed Thomas Markle forms part of the newspaper’s defence, after the paper and its parent company Associated Newspapers were accused of unlawfully publishing a letter between the two.

Crowds gathered to see the Duke and Duchess arrive. Credit: PA

The visit to Bradford is William and Kate's first official royal engagement of the decade.

The couple, parents to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, were last spotted in public together attending a church service on the Queen's private estate in Norfolk on January 5.