Prince William promises to look after Princess of Wales on return to royal duties

Britain's Prince William helps make bolognese sauce with head chef Mario Confait, during a visit to Surplus to Supper, in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, England, Thursday, April 18, 2024
Prince William received a warm greeting at Surplus to Supper - Alastair Grant/AP

Prince William promised to “look after” the Princess of Wales as he made his first public appearance since her cancer announcement a month ago.

The Prince, 41, gave a helping hand loading food and cooking in the kitchen at food distribution charity Surplus to Supper, in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey.

Volunteer Rachel Candappa, 71, handed two get well soon cards to the Prince addressed to the King and the Princess of Wales.

The Prince, who looked visibly moved, said: “Thank you, you are very kind”.

When Ms Candappa told the Princess to look after his wife he placed his left hand on her shoulder and said: “I will.”

The Prince in a delivery van
The Prince in a delivery van during his visit to the charity, which redistributes food to local projects - Alastair Grant/Pool via REUTERS

Speaking afterwards, the volunteer, from Sunbury-on-Thames, said: “I was at home at 8.30 last night and I thought I had to do something this is a chance to give a card directly to the palace officials. I didn’t think I’d be able to give the cards to William.

“I said ‘can I shake your hand’, I loved it, he was very down to earth. I’m never washing my hand again.

“He pointed at the food and said ‘that’s spaghetti hoops’ and I asked ‘how do you know about spaghetti hoops and he said ‘I’ve got children’.

The visit marks his first official appearance since the Princess of Wales, 42, announced on March 22 that she was undergoing a course of preventative chemotherapy treatment.

Britain's Prince William cuts celery as he helps to make a bolognase sauce during the visit
The Prince slices celery in the kitchen as he helps make a bolognese sauce with head chef Mario Confait - Alastair Grant/AP
The prince was shown around the charity by Claire Hopkins, its operations director
The Prince was shown around the charity by Claire Hopkins, its operations director - AP/Alastair Grant

She revealed in a video message that, following successful abdominal surgery in January, post-operative tests found that “cancer had been present”.

The statement was released to coincide with the end of the school term, allowing the Prince and Princess to shield Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, eight, and Prince Louis, five, from the ensuing publicity.

The family decamped to their Norfolk home for the school holidays but returned to Windsor in time for the children to return to school on Wednesday.

The Prince’s last public engagement was almost a month ago, on March 19, when he visited Sheffield to promote his Homewards homelessness initiative though he was spotted last week at an Aston Villa football match with Prince George.

Prince William took Prince George to watch Aston Villa play on April 11
Prince William took Prince George to watch Aston Villa play on April 11

He is expected to maintain a reduced timetable, as he has since the beginning of the year, as he juggles work with supporting his wife and children while the Princess’s cancer treatment continues.

The Prince’s focus on food waste is reflective of one of the key priorities of his Earthshot Prize.

The reduction of food waste helps protect the environment by reducing emissions from landfill.

Founded in 2017, Surplus to Supper redistributes more than three tonnes of surplus food every day to hundreds of local projects such as foodbanks, charities, schools, and community organisations.

It relies on 200 volunteers to collect food that would otherwise go to landfill from local retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, and caterers before redistributing it to those most in need.