Prince William promises to look after Princess of Wales on return to royal duties

Prince receives get well soon cards as he helps pack bags at food centre in first engagement since wife revealed cancer diagnosis

Prince William promised to look after the Princess of Wales as he made his first public appearance since her cancer announcement a month ago.

The Prince gave a helping hand loading food and cooking in the kitchen at Surplus to Supper, a food distribution charity in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey.

Rachel Candappa, a 71-year-old volunteer, handed two get well soon cards to the Prince, addressed to the King and the Princess. The Prince said: “Thank you, you are very kind”.

When Ms Candappa told the Prince to look after his wife, the 41-year-old placed his left hand on her shoulder and said: “I will.”

Speaking afterwards, she said: “I was at home at 8.30 last night and I thought I had to do something – this is a chance to give a card directly to the palace officials. I didn’t think I’d be able to give the cards to William.

“I said: ‘Can I shake your hand?’. I loved it, he was very down to earth. I’m never washing my hand again.

“He pointed at the food and said: ‘That’s spaghetti hoops.’ I asked ‘how do you know about spaghetti hoops’ and he said: ‘I’ve got children.’”

Ms Candappa added she had only finished writing her get well soon cards at 1am.

She revealed that the text written inside the car read: “Nation’s hearts were broken when you very courageously went on the global stage on your own to talk about your personal health issues.

“With no trimmings or flowering around issues, you gave the few chosen words to assure anyone who cares to listen that you will fight this dreadful ‘C’ disease. You must have had a lot of steel in you to hold it together.”

The Prince helped out at the charity, which redistributes food to local projects
The Prince helped out at the charity, which redistributes food to local projects CREDIT: Ian Vogler/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Surplus to Supper is based at Sunbury Cricket club, and the Prince told his hosts that his son Louis loves the sport.

Inside, he saw volunteers sorting out items including soap, handwash and make-up, telling Claire Hopkin, the operations director of Surplus to Supper, that he was surprised “how much we throw away”.

The prince also helped out in the kitchen with Mario Colfait, a chef who was making bolognese, sausage casserole and chilli con carne.

He pulled on an apron called out: “It smells good in here, Mario” before being handed a large knife and asked to slice celery for the pot.

The Prince joked that he was worried about slicing off his fingers. He said: “It’s the biggest knife, hope for the best,” adding: “I don’t want to mess up everyone’s lunch. I hope I haven’t ruined your lunch, but you can blame me.”

The kitchen cooks “culturally appropriate” food, which delivered to families in a five-mile radius and includes frozen meals for care homes.

The Prince had privately given the charity a box of unused food taken from the kitchen cupboards at Adelaide Cottage.

The visit marked his first official appearance since the Princess of Wales, 42, announced on March 22 that she was undergoing a course of preventative chemotherapy treatment.

She revealed in a video message that, following successful abdominal surgery in January, post-operative tests found that “cancer had been present”.

The statement was released to coincide with the end of the school term, allowing the Prince and Princess to shield Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, eight, and Prince Louis, five, from the ensuing publicity.

The family decamped to their Norfolk home for the school holidays, but returned to Windsor in time for the children to go back to school on Wednesday.

The Prince’s last public engagement was almost a month ago, on March 19, when he visited Sheffield to promote his Homewards homelessness initiative, though he was spotted last week at an Aston Villa football match with Prince George.

He is expected to maintain a reduced timetable, as he has since the beginning of the year, as he juggles work with supporting his wife and children while the Princess’s cancer treatment continues.

The Prince’s focus on food waste is reflective of one of the key priorities of his Earthshot Prize. The reduction of food waste helps protect the environment by reducing emissions from landfill.

Founded in 2017, Surplus to Supper redistributes more than three tonnes of surplus food every day to hundreds of local projects such as foodbanks, charities, schools, and community organisations.

It relies on 200 volunteers to collect food that would otherwise go to landfill from local retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, and caterers before redistributing it to those most in need.


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