Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joke with teachers and pupils in first virtual royal visit

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have shown their playful side as they joked with pupils and teachers, as well as each other, during their first virtual royal visit.

In the talkabout video call Prince William and Kate spoke to teachers who are working at Casterton Primary Academy looking after children of key workers and vulnerable youngsters.

As the children showed off their Easter artwork, William and Kate were delighted by the bunny ears sported by the teachers as well as the pupils.

Kate laughed and said: “We should have had our own bunny ears on.”

William added: “That’s a strong look.”

As the royal couple discussed Easter, one of the teachers said she hoped they’d have lots of chocolate at their house.

William said: “There’ll be a lot of chocolate eaten here, don’t worry.”

Kate told him: “You keep eating it.”

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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (bottom) on a video call with staff and teachers from Casterton Primary Academy in Burnley. (Kensington Palace)

The video call follows Prince Charles opening the first NHS field hospital in London via videolink, as the royals adapt to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Engagements were cancelled or postponed as the Royal Family followed government guidelines to avoid large gatherings to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Kate told the children and teachers: “To you and everyone who is in during this time, it must be such a relief for all the parents who are key workers to know that their children have the normality and structure and they’ve got a safe place for them to be.

“So really, really well done and for all of you, I know it’s not easy circumstances, but it’s fantastic.”

A teacher replied: “Thank you so much. I think everyone is just pleased to be able to help.”

William added: “Good northern volunteering spirit going on up there, very good of you!”

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The academy has stayed open to teach children of key workers. (Kensington Palace)

One child showed good history knowledge, asking William: “The first William was William the Conqueror. What do you want to be called?”

He replied: “I don’t think I can answer that.”

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The couple spent an hour on the call, and spoke to children including Harris and Lloyd, who shared pictures of their parents.

Harris, 10, said: “This is a picture of my mum and she works for the NHS as an admin for the health visitors and I’m really proud of her.”

Kate replied: “Ah, great photo – well done, it’s brilliant. I agree you should be very proud of her, they’re doing an amazing job all the NHS workers, so well done you.”

Another pupil said their father was a packer in a bakery, and the duke replied: “That’s a very important job too, keeping everyone well fed.”

The duke and duchess spent time talking to the pupils and thanking the teachers. (Kensington Palace)

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The 18 children were rotated in front of the camera to have time with the Cambridges to follow social distancing guidelines.

After the call, the school shared its own short clips of the pupils showing their paintings and explaining what their parents do.

The school has also remained open as a hub for five local academies that are all part of the Pendle Education Trust.

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The couple also spoke with staff from mental health charity Place2Be, Kate supports as patron, which has worked with schools in the trust for 10 years.