Time for some stiff upper lip, George
Prince George was more than a little reluctant to perform his royal duties as the Cambridges arrived in Warsaw yesterday. It took some persuasion from his father, the Duke, for him to walk down the red carpet
IT IS a big job for a small boy. But duty calls for all members of the Royal family, even one who is not quite four.
As the Cambridge family embarked on a diplomatic tour to charm Europe yesterday, it is perhaps little wonder Prince George needed coaxing to step off the plane. The Prince, who turns four on Saturday, took some gentle persuasion from his father, the Duke of Cambridge, as he landed in Warsaw to face a line of grown-up dignitaries and the drizzling rain.
The little boy seemed reluctant to leave the cosy private charter plane, halting at the door before plunging a hand in his pocket, pushing out his bottom lip, and concentrating on scuffing his feet. The small Prince put on an amusing show on the Polish red carpet yesterday, as his little sister Princess Charlotte wrapped her arms around her mother’s neck to be carried. But if the perils of having two children in the public eye fazed the Duke and Duchess, they certainly did not show it – even suggesting they should have a third soon.
The Duchess, who was presented with a soft toy designed for newborns later in the day, turned to her husband with a laugh and told him: “We will just have to have more babies.”
The family-of-four have arrived in Europe for a five-day tour of Poland and Germany, widely considered as part of a Brexit “charm offensive” undertaken by the Royal family this year following the filing of Article 50.
They landed in Warsaw in wet weather, putting on a brave face as they stepped down a short flight of steps on to Polish soil.
As the Duke and Duchess embarked on their public duties, the children were given a warm welcome before being taken to Belvedere Palace and a room full of toys including a tepee, a wooden bicycle, a sit-on model plane, a rocking horse and a climbing frame with pink and blue slides.
The Duke and Duchess visited the presidential palace, before going to meet some of around a thousand well-wishers who had turned out in the hope of meeting them.
Magda Mordaka, a 21-year-old student, said of her encounter with the Duchess: “We were telling her that she is beautiful and perfect, but she said it’s not true – it’s just the make-up.”
Later in the afternoon, they visited The Heart, which supports start-up
‘We were telling her that she is beautiful … but she said it’s not true – it’s just the make-up’
companies for tech entrepreneurs, where the Duchess was given cuddly toys to pass on to Prince George and Princess Charlotte. The soft toys, from company Whisbear, are designed to comfort newborns by replicating the sound of the womb, responding to their cries to soothe them.
Julia Sielicka-jastrzebska, who founded the company with her sister, said: “We gave the Duchess some presents for Prince George and Princess Charlotte. She said [to the Duke] ‘we should have more babies’, and they laughed.”
The Royal couple were shown a variety of innovations, including a robot designed for children to code and a foetal heart monitor to allow pregnant women to track their health.
The Duke and Duchess both tried on virtual reality headsets showing them a view of Warsaw, and played with a robot which moved when the Duchess patted its head.
The Duke and Duchess appeared on playful form as they made their way around the digital innovations.
Meeting with a group of Polish students who study in the UK, the Duke made the Duchess giggle as she posed for a photograph, teasing her: “You don’t look as clever as the other three.”
The final engagement of the day saw the couple attend a garden party in honour of the Queen’s birthday in the Orangery, Lazienki Park.
The Duke told an audience: “We in the United Kingdom value our links with Poland enormously. We admire Poland as a remarkable example of courage, fortitude and resilience.” He added: “With such links – diplomatic, military, cultural – offer much promise and opportunity for the future.”
Elsewhere on the first day of their tour, they visited the Warsaw Rising Museum to pay their respects to the estimated 200,000 Poles who died in an ill-fated 63-day rebellion against Nazi occupation in 1944.
There, veterans appeared to take their Royal visitors slightly more in their stride than gushing younger fans.
Colonel Edmund Brzozowski, 98, who joined the Polish resistance and was imprisoned in Russia before joining up with British forces in the Middle East and fighting with the Polish 2nd Corps at Monte Cassino, told the Duchess of his exploits.
Asked afterwards if it had been an exciting experience to meet Royalty, he replied with a straight face: “Not especially.”
Prince George takes his first steps on Polish soil after being coaxed on to the runway by his father. Princess Charlotte took the less stressful route. Far left, the royal children peer out of the plane and the Duke and Duchess at their evening event