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Prince William and Kate Middleton meet students in Northern Ireland after red carpet appearance - best photos

The Cambridges made their first trip to Derry-Londonderry

william kate northern ireland
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
Updated: September 29, 2021
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william kate meet nursing students© Photo: Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge carried out their first visit to Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland on Wednesday. Prince William and Kate spent the day meeting young people and hearing how organisations are engaging across communities to promote positive relations. 

It comes after the Duke and Duchess wowed on the red carpet for the world premiere of James Bond: No Time To Die on Tuesday evening at London's Royal Albert Hall. The Cambridges joined the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall for a glamourous night out, where Kate dazzled in a gold sequin gown by Jenny Packham.

Kicking off the day, William and Kate visited Ulster University's Magee Campus. Earlier this year, the couple spoke to nursing students from the University via video call and heard more about their experiences of studying during the pandemic, and of undertaking placements on the frontline of the COVID-19 response in Northern Ireland. 

READ: Kate Middleton and Duchess Camilla wow at James Bond premiere with William and Charles - best photos

WATCH: Prince William and Kate Middleton meet students in Northern Ireland

kate middleton outfit© Photo: Getty Images

William donned a navy suit with a pale blue shirt for the visit to the university, while Kate opted for an elegant business look in a purple trouser suit from Emilia Wickstead's AW21 collection. 

The Duchess teamed the two-piece with a navy rollneck, court shoes and her quilted Jaeger bag. 

MORE: Kate Middleton's red carpet gown has royal fans saying the same thing

kate middleton details© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess' hair was styled in a high ponytail and she accessorised with gold hoop earrings. 

MORE: Kate Middleton pays homage to Princess Diana's stunning style on the James Bond red carpet

william kate ulster university© Photo: Getty Images

The Cambridges were given a tour of the university campus during their visit. 

They also saw a specially designed simulated ambulance – the only one of its kind in the region – built on campus to train the very first year group on the brand new BSc Hons Paramedic Science programme in Northern Ireland.  

This course, which started just last week, is offered by the University to support the development of the paramedic profession in Northern Ireland and further afield.

MORE: Kate Middleton looks bold and beautiful in purple suit for Northern Ireland visit

william kate meet medical students© Photo: Getty Images

William and Kate met with the first cohort of medical students accepted into the University's new School of Medicine, established this year in response to the nationwide shortage in the medical workforce.  

The new School will develop a new generation of doctors who will work in Northern Ireland and beyond, once their studies are compete. It has received a £1m investment and now boasts high-tech, high-spec facilities.

WIlliam asked the students: "What’s happened since we last spoke to you, is it going ok, is it good to actually be back learning here? Has your interest been sparked by the pandemic?"

"It’s so good to be back, and we've had great support from the university," one of the students told him. 

kate middleton holds tarantula© Photo: Getty Images

During their visit, the couple also visited the campus’s petting zoo, organised by local mobile zoo company KidzFarm, which regularly comes to the campus to help students deal with mental health and anxiety issues.

Looking at the chickens in cages, Kate told the pet handler: "We've had lots of animals during lockdown. During lockdown, animals are often like therapy."

William added they had acquired "lots of chickens". 

Kate laughed and showed no fear as she held a tarantula called Charlotte. 

As Charlotte started moving up his wife's hand, William joked that the spider was animated by Kate's outfit: "Maybe she's not so keen on purple, or she maybe thinks you're a flower." 

The Cambridges' daughter, Princess Charlotte, has previously revealed her love of spiders as she and her brothers posed questions to Sir David Attenborough in October 2020. 

william holds snake© Photo: Getty Images

Meanwhile, William kept his cool as he held a snake! 

He said of his eldest son: "George is obsessed with snakes, he's going to be so upset he missed this."

kate william culture shock event ulster uni© Photo: Getty Images

Away from the text books and practical lessons, William and Kate learnt how the undergraduates relax and spend their free time when they visited the Student Union as it hosted a "Culture Shock" event.

william kate drink tasting© Photo: Getty Images

The couple sampled some Northern Irish food and drink from whiskey and soda bread to Tayto crisps.

cambridges uni students© Photo: Getty Images

The Cambridges had the chance to learn some local lingo as they chatted with the students. 

The couple joined a game where they were shown Irish names on a screen and had to guess how to pronounce them.  

"I'm going to have another drink, I'm not doing very well at this," joked William. 

Students also taught them local expressions, including "Give us a juke at that," and "Let's head out for a wee dander." 

william kate musicians© Photo: Getty Images

William and Kate also spoke to the University's talented musicians playing traditional instruments.

As they listened to the music, one student shouted out "Dance," with William gesturing to Kate: "You should! She loves dancing," but Kate laughed: "No, no, no!"

kate middleton outfit city of derry rugby club© Photo: Getty Images

There was a time for a quick outfit change into something more casual as the Cambridges visited the City of Derry Rugby Club to meet with players, coaches and volunteers involved in the 'Sport Uniting Communities' initiative.  The project is a collaboration between the Irish Football Association, Ulster Gaelic Athletic Association and Ulster Rugby and aims to promote peace and reconciliation. 

MORE: Sporty Kate Middleton changes into sleek activewear to play rugby in Northern Ireland

kate kicks rugby ball© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess, wearing a new sports jacket from Lululemon, had a go at kicking a rugby ball as her husband watched on. 

william kate giggle© Photo: Getty Images

The ever competitive couple were in fits of giggles as they tried out the activities. 

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william rugby ball© Photo: Getty Images

William gave an impromptu speech at City of Derry Rugby Club, praising the Sport Uniting Communities initiative and saying he was "just really impressed (with) what you've achieved, seeing all the smiley faces outside running around enjoying their sports and having a really good time is just fantastic".

He added: "And I think seeing the communities come together and being able to work together, play together, have fun together, is really important – it's a really strong message.

"Just well done with all the efforts, all the coaching, all the hard work that's been put in.

"The back of a pandemic is not the easiest time to be doing all this but hopefully it's refocused minds to what's important in life, so what you're doing here is truly inspirational, so keep up the good work."

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