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‘Croissants and Norfolk tea’: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit businesses to show support

PUBLISHED: 13:00 19 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:36 19 June 2020

The Duchess of Cambridge talks to Martin and Jennie Turner, owners of the Fakenham Garden Centre in Norfolk, during her first public engagement since lockdown. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Aaron Chown

The Duchess of Cambridge talks to Martin and Jennie Turner, owners of the Fakenham Garden Centre in Norfolk, during her first public engagement since lockdown. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Aaron Chown

PA Wire/PA Images

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited businesses in Norfolk to show their support after they reopened this week following an ease in lockdown measures.

The Duke of Cambridge speaks to owners Paul and Teresa Brandon during a visit to Smiths the Bakers, in the High Street in King's Lynn, Norfolk. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Aaron ChownThe Duke of Cambridge speaks to owners Paul and Teresa Brandon during a visit to Smiths the Bakers, in the High Street in King's Lynn, Norfolk. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Aaron Chown

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge visited two independent businesses to hear how they have been impacted by the coronavirus and how they are returning to a new normal, after non-essential shops reopened in parts of the UK.

On the morning of Friday, June 19, The Duke of Cambridge visited Smiths the Bakers in King’s Lynn for the first time, speaking with the owners of the bakery and staff about how coronavirus restrictions have affected the family-run business.

The bakery, which opened on Monday, June 15 after 11 weeks of closure, saw 80pc of wholesale trade “disappear overnight” at the start of lockdown.

Owner Paul Brandon said the first five weeks was “very stressful,” adding: “It was very concerning because 90pc of our business is wholesale and 80pc of that disappeared because we do pubs, restaurants, schools, so we lost virtually everything.”

The Duke of Cambridge is presented with a birthday cake by shop owner Paul Brandon (right) during a visit to Smiths the Bakers, in the High Street in King's Lynn, Norfolk. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Aaron ChownThe Duke of Cambridge is presented with a birthday cake by shop owner Paul Brandon (right) during a visit to Smiths the Bakers, in the High Street in King's Lynn, Norfolk. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Aaron Chown

On his 20 minute visit to the High Street shop, The Duke heard how the business, which has been serving King’s Lynn for 50 years, had to furlough a number of staff but also how it “worked through” during the crisis by setting up a delivery service for local residents, and selling new lines of products to meet the demand for baking ingredients such as flour and sugar.

The Duke also showed his support for the west Norfolk bakery by buying pain au chocolat, croissants and tasting their Sandringham tea.

Mr Brandon said: “We thought it was appropriate he had the Sandringham tea and he took a sample of it away in a little jar.

“It’s nice to know that he’s supporting the local area and he’s encouraging people to use the shops again.

The Duke of Cambridge carrying baked goods and pastries as he leaves Smiths the Bakers, in the High Street in King's Lynn, Norfolk. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Aaron ChownThe Duke of Cambridge carrying baked goods and pastries as he leaves Smiths the Bakers, in the High Street in King's Lynn, Norfolk. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Aaron Chown

“The staff were happy to see him too, although perhaps a little bit nervous and the fact he lives local as well is all good.

“We just need people to come out and start spending.

“During lockdown there was a lot of support for corner and village shops, we just hope that continues and people appreciate what they had done during lockdown and hope that continues for local businesses.”

The business owner said he hopes to reopen their tearoom in July, depending on government advice.

The Duchess of Cambridge talks to Martin and Jennie Turner, owners of the Fakenham Garden Centre in Norfolk, during her first public engagement since lockdown. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Aaron ChownThe Duchess of Cambridge talks to Martin and Jennie Turner, owners of the Fakenham Garden Centre in Norfolk, during her first public engagement since lockdown. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Aaron Chown

Mr Brandon added: “It was certainly an honour, it was very nice to meet him.

“It’s his birthday on Sunday, so we gave him a birthday cake with a football theme, knowing he has his connections with football.

“He was very pleased with it and he doesn’t think it’ll survive until Sunday before it’s eaten.”

The Duchess of Cambridge visited Fakenham Garden Centre on Thursday, June 18 where she met the centre’s owners, Martin and Jennie Turner, before speaking to staff members.

The Duchess of Cambridge talks to Martin and Jennie Turner, owners of the Fakenham Garden Centre in Norfolk, during her first public engagement since lockdown. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Aaron ChownThe Duchess of Cambridge talks to Martin and Jennie Turner, owners of the Fakenham Garden Centre in Norfolk, during her first public engagement since lockdown. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Aaron Chown

The Duchess revealed the majority of her trips outside her home have been to shop for food, as she carried out her first public engagement since lockdown began.

Kate toured Fakenham Garden Centre, which reopened on Friday, May 15, and as a keen gardener wanted to learn how the coronavirus outbreak had affected the independent business.

She told the owners she loved coming to garden centres with her three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

“They love it,” she said with a smile, adding: “It’s such a great space for children and families to come to garden centres.

“I’ve been food shopping but I have to say I haven’t been out a huge amount more but it’s good and so important, now as things start to ease, people know they can go out and particularly to places like this.”

The Cambridges have spent much of the lockdown at Anmer Hall with their children, and while unable to attend their usual royal events have been holding virtual visits to care centres and hospitals via video calls.

The Duke and Duchess’ visits come as Her Majesty The Queen, Patron of the British Chambers of Commerce, sent a message of support to business communities as they continue to reopen.


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