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Prince William plants poppies at Remembrance event

Emily Nash

The Duke of Cambridge got his hands dirty today as he had a go at planting poppies with schoolchildren at a Remembrance event.

William, 34, knelt on the damp ground and dug holes with a trowel before pouring in the seeds with pupils from St Charles Roman Catholic Primary School in Kensington.

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Prince William helped to plant poppies at a Remembrance event

He joked: "I'm not an expert gardener, but I hope the sunshine will come out and help them to grow. I'm not optimistic!"

During his visit to Kensington Memorial Gardens, he also chatted to young footballers and pupils from Barlby Primary School, which his wife the Duchess of Cambridge visited in 2015 with her charity the Art Room.

When the youngsters told him about the school’s royal connection, he joked: "Not my wife! Was she there? Obviously today is far better, I'll tell her that."

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The Duke chatted to schoolchildren and their parents

The Duke was visiting the Gardens to mark its dedication to the Centenary Fields programme by the Royal Borough of London & Chelsea. William, who is President of Fields in Trust, launched the scheme in 2014.

Run in partnership with the Royal British Legion, it aims to honour the fallen of World War I by protecting outdoor recreational space for future generations.

The Duke admired Remembrance projects the children had been working on, including poems and stories they had written after learning about the Great War in school.

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William unveiled a commemorative plaque

Speaking to others taking a pause in their football game, he asked: "Which football teams do you support?" He reacted with mock horror as they listed Chelsea, Arsenal and even the Italian club Napoli.

Villa fan William asked: "What about Aston Villa? They’re a great team. They’re just struggling a bit at the moment."

The Duke also crouched down to speak to toddlers about the same age as Prince George in the playground alongside a newly built splash park, but they seemed lost for words in front of the royal visitor.

Chatting to their parents he said: "It must be quite nice to know that this park will be preserved for future families."

Turning to the children, he added: "You guys are going to do lots of running around in here. Maybe wait until it gets warmer for the splash park though!"

Kensington Memorial Park was officially opened by Princess Louise in 1926 as a community memorial to those who served in WWI. 

Today, 90 years later, William unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the garden's continued dedication to honouring the war dead.