Prince William celebrates 40th birthday with Big Issue vendor Dave Martin 

William shared birthday cake with Dave

Prince William spent his 40th birthday with Dave Martin, the Big Issue vendor who showed him the ropes earlier this month while undercover as a seller.

READ: Princess Charlotte has the sweetest nickname for dad Prince William

The Duke visited Dave on his pitch outside the Tesco supermarket in Hammersmith, west London. The visit was a private engagement but HELLO! understands that William took Dave a slice of chocolate birthday cake to enjoy.

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WATCH: A look at the Duke of Cambridge at 40

Homelessness is an issue that William has been particularly passionate about since his formative years, when his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales would take him and his brother Prince Harry to visit homeless shelters. To mark his 40th birthday, William threw his support behind The Big Issue by writing exclusively for the social enterprise's magazine.

William is the cover star of the latest issue and wrote an article about his experience, describing his time with Dave, a Big Issue seller for 11 years, as "eye-opening".

MORE: Prince William celebrates milestone 40th birthday with never-before-seen photos

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"I have always believed in using my platform to help tell those stories and to bring attention and action to those who are struggling," he said. "I plan to do that now I’m turning 40, even more than I have in the past.

"So, for my part, I commit to continue doing what I can to shine a spotlight on this solvable issue not just today, but in the months and years to come."

William spent his 40th birthday with Dave © Andy Parsons/ The Big Issue

He continued: "I was 11 when I first visited a homeless shelter with my mother, who in her own inimitable style was determined to shine a light on an overlooked, misunderstood problem."

He also released never-before-seen pictures of his time working alongside Dave; donning a Big Issue tabard and hat, the future King was seen holding a stack of the magazines in his hand and chatting to members of the public.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will reportedly hold a joint 40th party in the summer after the duchess’s birthday celebrations in January were cancelled due to rising Covid cases.

MORE: The Queen's generous 40th birthday present to Prince William revealed

Homelessness is an issue that William is particularly passionate about © Andy Parsons/ The Big Issue

Earlier on Tuesday, the duke issued a personal thank you for the birthday messages he received. He wrote on Kensington Palace’s official Twitter account: "Thank you for all the happy birthday messages today!'" He signed his message "W", meaning it had come from him personally.

The royal family also wished William a happy 40th and one of the first royal couples to wish William a happy birthday was his father Prince Charles and his stepmother Camilla.

The Queen also marked her grandson's milestone 40th birthday with a joyous photo of her grandson beaming from ear to ear.

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