Royalty and statesmen




The sporty royal, who told one youngster he'd like to have been a footballer if he wasn't a prince, showed off his impressive ball skills in Newcastle on Wednesday
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One delighted youngster earned a high five from the 25-year-old Aston Villa fan
Photo: © Rex

Clearly a dab hand at encouraging team spirit from his time in the Army, William gathered some of the young footballers into a group hug
Photo: © Getty Images

Wills joins Tyneside kids for fun footie warm-up session in Newcastle

19 OCTOBER 2007

It's no easy feat to get an interview with a member of the royal family, but nine-year-old Naseem Haque had no problems getting his questions answered during a friendly chat with Prince William. "I asked what he'd like to be if he wasn't a prince and he said a professional footballer," the youngster revealed. "He also told me football's his favourite sport, and after that he really likes rugby."

The 25-year-old Army officer met Naseem on an official visit to Newcastle where he was seeing first-hand the work done by the Hat-trick Project at the West Gate Community College Centre for Sport. The programme is aimed at turning around the lives of disadvantaged seven to 16-year-olds through sports, and is supported by homeless charity Centrepoint of which the Prince is patron.

After arriving in a suit, Wills – who is president of the Football Association - changed into a tracksuit so he could enjoy a warm-up session and kick-around with the kids. The down-to-earth royal enthusiastically showed off his ball skills, handed out high-fives to the delighted young footballers and even joined in a group hug.

He clearly made a big impression on his future subjects. "I was shy at first when he started talking to me, but I relaxed a bit because he seemed really nice," said local primary school student Demi Drinkeld, nine. "He was just like I imagined he would be."

There was, however, one point on which the second-in-line to the throne could have improved in the eyes of the local youngsters. "I don't know why he supports Aston Villa. I wanted to persuade him to support Newcastle United," said Naseem.

On Friday William was in action-mode again, this time at Scotland's Faslane Naval Base where he went out in an offshore raiding craft on manoevres with four Royal Marines. He'll have plenty more experiences like that to come next summer when he takes up an attachment with the navy as part of his ongoing training in all aspects of the Armed Forces.

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