GALLERY: Duchess of Cambridge bumps into childhood friend while on Barrow tour with Duke

The Duchess of Cambridge arrives in Barrow. Photo: PA

The Duchess of Cambridge. Photo: PA

The royal couple meet officers of HMS Artful. Photo: PA

The Duke of Cambridge is greeted by Commander Steve Garrett. Photo: PA

The Duchess meets submariners

The Duke of Cambridge, unveils a plaque to commemorate the opening of the Future Submarines Offices

First published in News
Last updated
The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

THE bunting, banners, and flags were out in their droves this afternoon as hundreds gathered to catch a glimpse of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Cumbria.

The Duchess, dressed in a long red coat and sporting a dolphin brooch, met with childhood friend Matthew Lidiard, a 27-year-old quality inspector now living in Windermere.

The royal couple were in Barrow-in-Furness to learn about the new Astute Class of nuclear-powered submarines being built for the Royal Navy by BAE Systems.

They officially opened the offices for the future 'successor' programme, a replacement of the Vanguard class, before meeting with the crew of Artful, currently based in Barrow, and their families.

Officially unveiling a plaque in the offices in front of around a hundred workers, the Duke joked that 'everyone can go back to work now, tea break is over.'

Matthew, originally from Berkshire, was friends with the Duchess when she was still Miss Middleton.

"My parents knew her parents when I lived down in Berkshire and were at the royal wedding with them," Mr Lidiard said.

The two discussed 'family stuff' before Mr Lidiard passed on his own good news about a future child.

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"I said my brother has got one on the way as well, the first child in that generation. She said 'good luck with it all'.

"It was quite strange with a lot of people watching.

"It was good to see her."

William Daniels, 21, from Millom, was one of the lucky few who had a chance to speak to the Duke of Cambridge as he presented him with a gift.

"He was great, came across as if he was genuinely interested in my training," he said.

"I was a little nervous but he probably won't come again so I'm glad I had a chance to speak to him."

The couple later toured Devonshire Dock Hall where HMS Artful and HMS Audacious are currently being built.

Each of the vessels cost £1.2 billion and will join Astute and Ambush as part of the Royal Navy submarine fleet when completed.

They spoke with Kay Ashworth, from Barrow, whose husband Chris is a sheet metal worker.

"We gave them a pair of little lemon boots that my mum made to give to her child.

"I asked her how her pregnancy was going because we have a grandchild due soon.

"She said 'it's still an awfully long way until June' and wished us luck".

Michelle Glasgow, 26, from Barrow, kept a family member tradition going and followed in the footsteps of her grandfather, Jim, who met the Queen twice while working at BAE.

"I was a bit of a nervous wreck but it was exciting," she said.

"My sister has also met the Duke of Edinburgh so it's nice to have my own story now."

The second-in-line to the throne and his pregnant wife then met with crew and their families from the Artful submarine before being presented with two nautical themed baby-grows and a bunch of flowers from the two youngest members of the Astute 'family'.

Grant Weaver, 31, an AB Writer, whose son Alfie, two, gifted the Duke with the baby-grows, said: "We spoke with the Duke, he was really nice and great with the children. He'll make a great dad."

MD of BAE Systems, John Hudson, said that the visit was 'fantastic' and had created a 'real buzz' in the whole yard.

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock was also at the visit and was one of the dignitaries who welcomed the pair.

"It's really important they are here to give the Royal seal of approval to the incredible engineering and manufacturing in Barrow.

"This is a programme we have to keep on taking forward for the good of the county and the safety of the country."

Earler in the day the Duke and Duchess attended the opening of an outdoor centre in Scotland.

The couple joined the Prince of Wales at Dumfries House in Ayrshire where Charles has led a regeneration project since 2007.

Hundreds of locals and 600 members of youth groups including the Girl Guides and Scouts turned out for the official opening of the Tamar Manoukin Outdoor Centre.

As Charles prepared to address the crowd, William rubbed his cold hands and told his father to 'make it brief'.

Kate smiled as she was handed a "Princess Catherine" doll by one young well-wisher.

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