In an unexpected turn of events, the Prince of Wales, Prince William, received a delightful surprise during his visit to a branch of Pret A Manger in Bournemouth on Thursday. The future King of England had taken the train to the coastal town to meet with local and national businesses who have pledged their support to his Homewards initiative, which aims to end homelessness for good. Little did he know that England football legend Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne would make an appearance and brighten up his day.
During his visit to Pret A Manger, Prince William had the opportunity to chat with customer and newly announced Homewards advocate, Steven Bartlett, who is an entrepreneur and podcaster. Meanwhile, in a surprising twist, local resident Gazza decided to drop by and say hello to the Prince. Gazza, a former player for Tottenham Hotspur and Rangers, revealed, “I’ve met [William] a couple of times and met him at Wembley [Euro 2020 semi-finals], he loves his football. I climbed over a few chairs to talk to him and gave him a peck on the cheek.” It seems that Gazza couldn’t resist showering the Prince with affection, as he added, “I came past Pret and someone said William was there, so I saw him and gave another peck on the cheek. He’s a good looking guy. He said ‘I even got a kiss’. He said he has been watching us from afar. I help the homeless here in Bournemouth, I often give them ciggies and sandwiches.”
The visit to Pret A Manger also provided Prince William with the chance to learn about the food chain’s commitment to expanding its Rising Stars program. Over the next five years, The Pret Foundation’s Rising Stars program, which aims to break the cycle of homelessness by providing support, training, and employment, will see a 40 percent expansion. This expansion will support at least 500 people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and provide them with job opportunities at Pret’s UK shops. These job opportunities will be available not only in regular locations but also in Homewards flagship locations where Pret has a presence.
Pano Christou, the CEO of Pret A Manger and Trustee of The Pret Foundation, expressed his pride and honor in collaborating with Homewards and Prince William to take Rising Stars even further. He emphasized the importance of collective effort in combating homelessness, stating, “No one can fix this problem alone. That’s why we’re so proud and honored to be working with Homewards and His Royal Highness to take Rising Stars even further. We will continue to do everything we can as a business to help tackle this issue and give people new opportunities wherever we can.”
Apart from visiting Pret A Manger, Prince William also made a stop at AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium. His purpose was to familiarize himself with the club’s ongoing work in the community to support individuals at risk of homelessness. Additionally, the Prince learned about the club’s commitment to expanding their projects as part of the Homewards initiative.
Prince William’s visit to Bournemouth marked his first public outing since his summer break with his wife, Kate, and their three children. Throughout the summer, the royal family resided at their Norfolk residence, Anmer Hall. The couple was seen attending various events, including the nearby Houghton Festival and the Women’s World Cup, where Prince William showed his support for the Lionesses in a video message with Princess Charlotte.
In the final weeks of the holidays, the Waleses joined King Charles and Queen Camilla at Balmoral in Scotland. Photographs captured William and Kate driving to a church service at Crathie Kirk, showcasing their commitment to their faith and their family.
Prince William’s brother, the Duke of Sussex, is set to make his first appearance in the UK since June as he attends the WellChild Awards in London. This event will mark a reunion for the royal brothers, who were last seen together at King Charles’s coronation in May.
As the world reflects on the past year, HELLO! shares poignant moments and memories on A Right Royal Podcast. The podcast features interviews with notable figures such as broadcaster and writer Gyles Brandreth and photographer Julian Calder. Join the conversation and listen to the new season as HELLO! commemorates the first anniversary of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s passing.
Prince William’s visit to Pret A Manger in Bournemouth not only shed light on the commitment of local and national businesses to combat homelessness but also provided a heartwarming surprise with Gazza’s unexpected appearance. This encounter exemplifies the impact of the Homewards initiative in bringing people together and creating connections. With the expansion of programs like Rising Stars, Pret A Manger is contributing to breaking the cycle of homelessness and providing individuals with opportunities for a better future. Prince William’s dedication to ending homelessness and his involvement in the community highlight the compassion and commitment the royal family has towards helping those in need.