The Prince and Princess of Wales had several engagements today in South Wales, ahead of St. David’s Day tomorrow.
St. David is the country’s patron saint, and the day is celebrated on March 1. The flowers you see the couple wearing are daffodils, the national flower. The day started with a visit to Brynawel Rehabilitation Centre, near Pontyclun, Mid Glamorgan.
Brynawel is a leading center for treating alcohol and drug dependencies. Below, the Princess meets Ragnar, a Great Dane working as one of the center’s therapy dogs.
The center is now in its fortieth year of serving the community.
The royals met staff, clients, and their families. They learned about some of the programs offered by Brynawel, including one for people with alcohol-related brain damage and specialist therapy courses designed to help clients improve their mental health.
They also heard about a therapy garden the rehabilitation center is creating in tandem with an organization called Life at No.27. The group provides “gardening therapy, mental health support, and counseling to children and adults struggling with mental ill health, isolation, low confidence, and self-esteem.” Below, the couple with Annabelle Padwick, Life at No. 27’s founder.
Here you see a photo from the Life at No.27 and Brynawel Crowdfunder raising money for the new garden.
More from ITV’s story, quoting Ms. Padwick.
“Working with The Prince and Princess of Wales is so important as their support enables us to collaboratively raise awareness of the work we do, the growing vital need that we aim to meet and how much the experiences and relationships we have can shape our future”, she added.
Residents from the wider community, who are experiencing mental ill health, low confidence or isolation, will also eventually be given access to the garden through GP referrals.
The Princess planted some seeds that will go in the new plot. The BBC reports, “Volunteer gardener Vanessa Townsend helped Catherine to sow the seeds, telling her: “They will flower in two years, I’ll make sure you get some.”
If wondering what she planted, here is your answer.
The tub with the seeds is labeled “Princess Kate’s Sweet William Sown 28/02/23 at Brynawel.”
Below, the Princess receives a bunch of daffodils from two-year-old Cora Phillips and her mother, Michelle Phillips.
The Daily Mail shares the reaction from Ms. Phillips in its story about today’s visit.
‘Oh my goodness, I did not expect that in a million years.’
Turning to her daughter, she said: ‘We just met a princess. We’re never going to forget that.’ Ms Phillips said they live nearby and had bought daffodils ahead of St David’s Day on March 1.
The next stop was at the Aberavon Leisure & Fitness Centre in Port Talbot.
A quick video of the couple as they arrived inside.
The Royal couple both proudly wearing daffodils during their visit right now to #Aberavon with St David’s Day tomorrow.
— South Wales News (@SouthWales_News) February 28, 2023
The Evening Standard has more in this piece.
Leisure centre manager Chris Pugh said the visit was “absolutely fantastic and amazing”.
“We were delighted to be able to showcase what we do here and the part we play in supporting the community,” he said.
“There is something here for everyone in the community, whether it is swimming, fitness or sport.”
The Prince and Princess met members of a local swimming club.
And they met children from Tywyn Primary School participating in a mix of indoor sports.
While at the center, the couple took part in a little competitive cycling to see who could ride the furthest in 45 seconds.
More from The Telegraph’s story.
The Royal couple competed for 45 seconds in the Tour de Aberavon spinning challenge in the Aberavon Leisure and Fitness Centre in Port Talbot.
William apologised to the cyclists upon entering the room, saying: “Sorry for ruining your spin class.”
Kate, who was wearing a cream top, checked skirt and black high-heeled boots, said: “Not sure I am dressed for this.”
The Prince and Princess of Wales took part in a spin class today – Kate joking about having to do it in a skirt and heels.
But she still beat her husband in the 45-second race and was awarded a gold cup as winner of the Tour de Aberavon! pic.twitter.com/7luvgipK2Y
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) February 28, 2023
Ultimately the Princess won the challenge.
Here she is looking at her trophy for winning the “Tour de Aberavon.”
12-year-old Sienna David gave the Princess a lovely bouquet of sunflowers as the couple left the center. Siena is a member of the Aberavon Swimming Club.
In this video, you get a sense of how the skirt moves.
Children from the swimming club at Aberavon Leisure & Fitness Centre have presented the Princess of Wales with bouquets of daffodils and sunflowers.
— Capital Wales News (@CapitalWALNews) February 28, 2023
We return to The Evening Standard’s coverage.
The 12-year-old from Port Talbot said: “It was amazing – really great experience.”
She spoke to William for a few minutes and described their conversation, saying he was concerned she was wearing a T-shirt in the cold weather.
“He was saying it was very cold and he asked me what my favourite swimming stroke was,” she added.
The duo did a walkabout outside the leisure and fitness center.
The Princess was given several bouquets of daffodils.
The royals’ final engagement visit was at the Wales Air Ambulance Charity.
The organization is celebrating its twenty-second anniversary tomorrow. More from this Hello piece.
The Wales Air Ambulance charity, which was founded in 2001, has completed almost 45,000 missions and is on stand-by 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
William was an air ambulance pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance and a helicopter pilot with the RAF Search and Rescue Force based at RAF Valley on Anglesey.
Today the couple met first responders, volunteers, and supporters of the charity.
The royals officially opened a new room designed to be a safe space for families, volunteers, and nurses. They also met the wife and children of a man who died in a traffic accident. Wales Online offers more in this piece.
…they spoke to Laura Davies and her two children Sofia, nine, and Owen, 11, in a private meeting in the charity’s new family room. The room was inspired by the family’s tragedy.
Mrs. Davies said: “My husband and my daughter Sofia were involved in a road traffic accident on July 8 2021. Unfortunately, despite the efforts of the emergency services on the day, we tragically lost Arwel in the accident. Arwel was a really, really special person and to have a room like this named in Arwel’s memory, and for it to be recognised by Prince William and Princess Catherine, is a testament to the special person he was.
Sofia Davies presented the Princess with a bouquet as the royals were about to depart.
Wales Online reports Mrs. Davies said, “I think it’s overwhelming that Prince William and Princess Catherine are involved in today’s visit. This means a huge amount to the children; it’s a lasting legacy for them as to how special daddy was.”
The charity notes on its site that it “needs to raise £8 million every year to keep the helicopters in the air and its rapid response vehicles on the road. ”
Just before today’s visit, Kensington Palace announced Prince William is now the royal patron of Wales Air Ambulance.
In a news release, Kensington Palace noted:
“Through his work as an air ambulance pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance, His Royal Highness has seen first-hand the impact these first responders have upon the lives of patients with critical injuries. As patron of the Wales Air Ambulance Charity, the Prince will continue his work championing the efforts of those working on the frontline and the importance of supporting their mental health.”
Now for today’s look at what Kate wore.
We begin with the cream or ivory coat. It has similarities to several Alexander McQueen coats we have seen the Princess wear, including the bodice darts, flap pockets, and lightly padded shoulders.
But there are also distinctions: today’s coat is not double-breasted; it has notch lapels, not peaked, like the others; the pockets on today’s coat sit higher than on the other coats; today’s buttons are covered in the same fabric as the coat, unlike the other three coats. It is likely a McQueen design, but I am not comfortable saying that definitively. UPDATE DEC 9 2023: With thanks to Royal Fashion Police, the coat is by Savile Row tailor Chris Kerr. Mr. Kerr also did the coat worn by the Princess for the Together at Christmas carol concert and the UFO blue coat worn in June 2022.
The skirt is a past-season piece by Zara. The midi-length design features a black and white houndstooth print, an A-line silhouette, raw edges at the hem and front placket, with self-covered fabric buttons on the front.
Today’s footwear looks like
a second pair of bespoke Gianvito Rossi boots. The style appears identical to the dark brown suede we have seen the Princess wear on several occasions. I have not yet had time to look at the gloves. NOTE: Thank you to Erin for her comment pointing out this would be the third pair of Rossi boots. I forgot the navy blue pair worn in December that is also believed to be by Gianvito Rossi. Below, the most-often-worn pair in brown, the black pair worn today, and the navy blue pair worn for a tree planting ceremony at Westminster Abbey in December.
The style closest in design to the Princess’s boots is the Glen, but it has a rounded toe, not a point-toe style like the pairs made for the Princess. Below, the Glen in brown ($1695), black ($1695), and navy ($1695).
The Princess brought back a pair of earrings by Heavenly Necklaces that we haven’t seen for at least a decade. The Pearl and ‘Diamonds’ Earrings ($90) are made of sterling silver plated with white rhodium, featuring “reconstituted pearl and diamond look-alike stones.”
Below, you see the Duchess of Cambridge wearing the earrings for a carriage ride following the Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving in June 2012.
I will see you tomorrow as the Prince and Princess visit the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards to attend the St David’s Day Parade.
- Visit the Life at No. 27 website here. The group’s Facebook page is here, its Twitter feed is here, and its Instagram page is here.
- Learn more about Brynawel Rehabilitation Centre at the center’s website here. Its Facebook page is here; its Twitter feed is here, and its Instagram page is here.
- The Wales Air Ambulance site is here; the organization’s Facebook page is here; its Twitter feed is here.
The Royal Family Channel has about two minutes coverage of the day’s first engagement in this video.
This video covers the visit to the fitness center.