Fancy seeing you heir! Gazza plants a kiss on Prince William’s cheek after pair bump into each other at Pret A Manger in Bournemouth during royal’s visit to end homelessness
- William visited a Pret A Manger and Bournemouth AFC on trip to Dorset coast
- Comes on eve of anniversary of his late grandmother Elizabeth II’s death
The extraordinary meeting happened while the Prince of Wales was chatting with staff and bosses at the Pret café as part of his major campaign to end homelessness.
William and Gascoigne were filmed greeting each other among an excited crowd inside the outlet, with Gascoigne saying that he lived in nearby Sandbanks and was feeling ‘a lot better, getting there’ after his long battle with alcohol addiction.
Gascoigne – who kissed the hand of William’s mother Princess Diana at the 1991 FA Cup final – beamed throughout the chat and seemed delighted to meet the Prince.
Earlier, William had been given his own name badge as was seen laughing and joking with staff as he visited the Pret and had a go at making sandwiches for customers.
He joined Pret staff to learn about a scheme helping 500 people experiencing or at risk of homelessness into jobs at the chain’s UK outlets over the next half a decade.
William, 41, arrived in Bournemouth by train on the eve of the anniversary of the Queen’s death. He was filmed walking along the station platform next to a South Western Railway service, in a video posted on social media by Kensington Palace.
The Prince will meet representatives from eight national and local firms to hear about their support for his five-year Homewards project to end homelessness.
William will also visit Bournemouth AFC for a pitch-side conversation with club staff about work supporting disadvantaged and vulnerable adults to live independently.
It comes on the day William’s brother Prince Harry will fly 5,461 miles from California to London to attend the WellChild Awards tonight – before heading off to Dusseldorf for the Invictus Games on Saturday. The siblings are not expected to see each other.
Their late grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, died at Balmoral in Scotland on September 8 last year aged 96 after reigning for 70 years.
William’s visit to Bournemouth, which saw him arrive at about 12.30pm today, comes three months after he launched his ambitious £3million Homewards programme which he said was inspired by the work of his late mother Princess Diana.
The heir to the throne has identified six locations – including the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) region – which will benefit from the programme of expertise and investment from his Royal Foundation.
The other five areas are Aberdeen, Newport in South Wales, Northern Ireland, Sheffield and Lambeth in South London.
William’s trip to the Dorset coast today will focus on the business sector’s role in preventing and tackling homelessness.
His trip to Pret will look at how the chain’s Pret Foundation is expanding its ‘Rising Stars’ programme to support people experiencing or at risk of homelessness into jobs at its stores.
William will meet a small group of employees who have been supported through the programme and help them with food preparation in the kitchen.
The Pret Foundation donates Pret’s unsold freshly-made food at the end of every day to those who need it most, while also offers financial grants to grassroots charities.
And it aims to help break the cycle of homelessness by providing support, training and employment through the Rising Stars programme.
Pret A Manger is one of the first nine ‘Homewards Activators’, which Kensington Palace said are organisations ‘committed to contributing skills, resources and investment to galvanise national momentum to support the six Homewards flagship locations to deliver the solutions needed to prevent homelessness in their areas’.
William will also visit Bournemouth AFC’s Vitality Stadium today to hear about the expansion of the Premier League club’s community outreach programmes, as well as new education and employment opportunities.
Which six areas are involved in William’s Homewards project?
- Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
- Lambeth, South London
- Newport, South Wales
- Northern Ireland
He will talk to representatives from the club to hear about ‘Bounce Back’, a pilot scheme that the club ran in stages between September 2022 and February this year to support local disadvantaged and vulnerable adults in achieving ‘independent sustained living’ through classroom and practical learning activities.
William will join representatives from national and local businesses for a roundtable meeting to discuss how the business sector can help to tackle homelessness.
Attendees will include representatives from retailer Lush, Sunseekers, Dorset Chamber of Commerce, The Pret Foundation, AFC Bournemouth, and Bournemouth and Poole College.
These groups will pledge commitments including ‘expansion of employment opportunities, community outreach and support and better collaboration’.
A Kensington Palace statement said Homewards aims to ‘demonstrate that by working collaboratively across all areas of society it is possible to end homelessness in the UK, making it rare, brief and unrepeated’.
It added: ‘In addition to delivering real and tangible impact in each local area, Homewards will use findings from each location to create a tried and tested model that can be adopted by other areas of the UK and internationally.
‘The programme will also focus on improving understanding around the issue of homelessness and boosting optimism that it can be ended.’
William previously revealed he had been inspired to launch such a project ever since he first visited The Passage, a charity working with the homeless, as a child with Diana.
As a member of the Royal Family, William is said to understand questions over why someone from such a privileged background believes they can solve such a major issue.
But he is understood to believe he can use his convening power as a royal to bring together coalitions of individuals, organisations and businesses to work together.
Amanda Berry, chief executive of the Royal Foundation, said today: ‘Pret’s commitment to expanding its Rising Stars programme is an exciting moment for Homewards.
‘This, alongside the other commitments being made today, demonstrates the powerful role businesses can and must play if we are to make an impact in this space.
‘We are excited to see how today’s announcements inspire action across our Homewards locations and beyond over the next five years.’
And Pano Christou, chief executive of Pret A Manger, said today: ‘Since we started The Pret Foundation almost 30 years ago, we’ve worked hard to give people facing homelessness vital support, training and employment opportunities, including through our Rising Stars programme.
‘But no one can fix this problem alone. That’s why we’re so proud and honoured to be working with Homewards and His Royal Highness to take Rising Stars even further. We will continue to do everything we can as a business to help tackle this issue and give people new opportunities wherever we can.’
Also today, Harry will return to the UK for the first time since June to attend a charity awards ceremony.
He will celebrate the achievements and resilience of seriously-ill youngsters and their families who are supported by WellChild at the event in London today.
Harry last appeared publicly in the UK three months ago for his high-profile legal case at the High Court against Mirror Group Newspapers.
He has been WellChild’s patron for 15 years and regularly attends its annual awards ceremony, but his wife Meghan Markle, a guest at past events, is not expected to join him.
Last year’s awards were held on the day the Queen died, forcing the duke and duchess to withdraw from the event as Harry flew to Scotland to be with other members of the royal family.
The awards ceremony is being held two days before Harry’s Invictus Games – for wounded military personnel and veterans – begins in Dusseldorf, Germany, on Saturday and is staged over eight days.
Meanwhile William and his wife Kate are to travel to France to cheer on England and Wales in the men’s Rugby World Cup, just weeks after William faced a backlash for missing the Lionesses’ historic final.
Their brief sporting trip also clashes with the start of the Invictus Games.
Kate, who is patron of the Rugby Football Union, will attend a group stage match between England and Argentina at the Stade de Marseille on Saturday – the first weekend of the tournament.
William, patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, will watch Wales compete against Fiji in another opening round match at the Stade de Bordeaux on Sunday.
Harry is travelling from the US, with Meghan joining him later in the week, for the duration of the Invictus tournament – his pride and joy which he founded as a Paralympic-style competition to help wounded and sick ex-military personnel.
He will take to the stage in Dusseldorf at a grand opening ceremony on Saturday to kick off the eight-day event.
Later the same evening, Kate will also be in continental Europe, at the rugby in neighbouring France, while William’s appearance on Sunday falls on the first day of Invictus’ competitive events.
Kensington Palace said no further appearances are planned for the prince and princess while they are in France.
William and Kate’s royal excursion to support the two men’s sides in the first stage comes after William was criticised for deciding not to attend the women’s England team’s World Cup football final against Spain in Sydney last month.
It was the first time the Lionesses had reached the final of a World Cup, and the first time an England football team had competed in a World Cup final since the men’s side beat West Germany in 1966.
The prince, who is president of the FA, sent personal messages to the Lionesses after their heartbreaking 1-0 defeat, but stayed at home to watch the match in Norfolk.