Black History Month: Prince and Princess of Wales meet Windrush veterans in Cardiff

The Prince and Princess of Wales visited Cardiff to celebrate the start of Black History Month.

This year marks 75 years since the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush to the UK and the royal couple met some of those who settled in Wales.

William and Kate attended the Grange Pavilion in Grangetown, Cardiff, to meet with schoolchildren, members from the Windrush Cymru Elders, Black History Cymru 365, and the Ethnic Minority Youth Forum for Wales.

Prince William caused an outburst of laughter when he asked who had "pinched his bottom" whilst standing for pictures. Credit: PA

The Royal couple were met with a rousing reception as local schoolchildren sang an inspired rendition of Calon Lan before greeting pupils.

One of the pupils said: "It's really weird seeing them on TV and then meeting them now, it's really crazy."

Another said: "It's really cool and shocking because we didn't know we were going to meet them but now we have it's quite cool."

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the HMT Empire arriving in the UK, the Royal couple then met members of the Windrush Cymru Elders, a group established in 2017 as part of Race Council Cymru.

The Prince and Princess heard about the experiences of the elders and the impact of their generation on Wales.

William spoke to one of the Windrush elders, who said: "I left Antigua and I was 15 years old and I came over to be with my Mum.

"When I came, I stayed in London for the weekend with my brother. Then I came to Cardiff with my mother and it's the best place to be - Tiger Bay."

When the Prince of Wales asked why Cardiff was the best place to be, she said "Because it's a multicultural community. It was the very best - Tiger Bay!"

William and Kate teamed up with two local teenagers to play table tennis between themselves. Credit: PA

They then met with young people involved in the Ethnic Minority Youth Forum and from the area's Somali community.

The couple met members of Wales Somaliland Youth Links and Cardiff Bay Warriors FC to hear about the community projects they have been involved in – from football to youth unemployment.

Ali Arshad is one of the volunteers. He told ITV Wales about the work he does saying: "I started getting involved here about two years ago and one of the main reasons was to give myself an opportunity and the kids younger than me to set themselves up in their careers in the future.

"One of the main reasons I got involved there was because I'm really into sports. So I do a lot of sports work on the astroturf, coaching for the little kids. It just keeps them all together in a good way so they can all mingle rather than being anti-social on the streets."

Tobi Okeneye, 11, also met the Royal couple. She told the Prince and Princess of Wales about the group. She said it was "wonderful" to meet them, adding "the Princess smells really good!"

Eleeza Khanm, 17, and Amira Begum, 18, played table tennis with the Prince and Princess. Eleeza said the game was "probably one of the most nerve-racking things I've ever done." Adding "they're really good".

Amira said: "It was a nice icebreaker because we were very on edge, but they suddenly walked in and got into it and it was all really nice.

"At the end of the day they are the royals, but they are people like us. They're willing to play a game with us."

Eleeza said "It's a big deal for us feel seen and heard by the most famous family in the country. It means a lot to the community

"All of our hard work is being shown and I think it means a lot."

The visit marks the second time William and Kate have been to Wales in just over a month. The royal couple attended a service at St David's Cathedral on 8 September to mark the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's death.

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