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Prince William makes overdue visit to local pub George, Charlotte and Louis love

The Duke stopped by the Rose & Crown ahead of its reopening

Emily Nash

The Duke of Cambridge enjoyed a pint of cider and a plate of chips at his local pub today as the nation's bars prepared to reopen for business. Prince William did his bit to boost the hospitality industry on a visit to the 600-year-old Rose & Crown in Snettisham, a short drive from his country home Anmer Hall.

READ: Prince George and Princess Charlotte's routine is set to change next week 

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WATCH: Prince William's first visit to a pub ahead of reopenings

"First customer?" he asked landlords Anthony and Jeannette Goodrich as he arrived to hear how they had coped with three months in lockdown. After using hand sanitiser, he placed his order. "Can I have a pint of cider please? I'm a cider man," he said, ordering a £4.15 pint of Aspall Suffolk Draught Cyder and a plate of chips. Taking a seat in the garden, he said: "I don’t know where I pay, I'll do that before I leave, I promise," he said, laughing as the pint was brought to him.

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The Duke, with landlords Anthony and Jeannette, sanitised his hands upon arrival 

The Duke sat with Anthony and Jeannette, who have owned the pub for 25 years, head chef Philip Milner and duty manager Lucy Heffer, and heard how they had coped with the challenges of three months in lockdown.

William, who has brought his family to the Rose & Crown in the past, noted that the play area, which his own children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis love, would stay closed for now. "The children have been in there a few times," he said, pointing out the roped off area and joking: "They will see that as a challenge."

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William ordered a cider at the bar

The second-in-line to the throne said of the new guidelines allowing pubs to reopen: "It could end up with everyone at the pub. Because people just want a change of scene, being at home for so long. I am sure people will want to get out and explore locally. I don't think they’ll want to go far afield."

He said that customers would have to learn to get used to the new rules in pubs. "We all have to take responsibility for our own two metre bubble," he added. 

The Duke was told that Anthony and Jeanette had to furlough 25 full-time employees, who usually work alongside another 10 to 15 weekend staff, and apply for a Government loan to keep the business afloat. But they were also able to support the local community by donating leftover stock to the Purfleet Trust, which helps single homeless people in King's Lynn and West Norfolk.

MORE: Duchess Kate talks family life as she creates new garden for children's hospice

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William spoke with staff in the pub garden 

The pub, which has 16 bedrooms, also started a takeaway drinks and food service last month. Staff have reduced the number of tables in the restaurant and scaled back the menu to allow it to reopen in line with social distancing guidelines. They have also set up a marquee in the garden in case of bad weather. Jeannette said of the pub: "It's the hub of the village. It's got a very loyal following of locals who I think are dying to get back."

William's outing came after he and Kate visited other local businesses to show their support in recent weeks. Last month the Duchess bought plants and flowers at Fakenham Garden Centre, while the Duke bought pastries and received a birthday cake on a visit to Smiths the Bakers in King's Lynn.

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