The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge didn’t make any public statements during their whirlwind visit to UBC Okanagan, but the few private conversations struck as they moved through the campus had local royalists reeling.
Reams of social media posts from the thousands who started gathering at the university around four hours before the royal couple even arrived, show they were a crowd hit. Prince William and Kate were chatty as they briskly walked through the crowd, taking time to say hello and to offer comment on Kelowna’s appeal.
As the visit wore on, some were able to have a more fulsome exchange.
Among those who spoke with the royal couple at some length was 19 year old Aidan Lea, a UBC Okanagan women’s volleyball player. She, along with her team, played a demonstration game for the Prince William and Kate, who joined them on the court when it was completed.
“He was remarking on the level of competition and how impressed he was by that … and by what amazing facilities we have here and how lucky we are to play by such an amazing school,” Lea said, noting the team won bronze in the nationals last year.
The prince also commented on Lea’s impressive stature of 6-foot-five, and from the crowd it seemed that as a jumping point to start charming the team.
“He was very charismatic, really friendly … it was really nice talking to him,” said Lea.
“I’m really honoured to have had a conversation with the future king of England.”
The Duchess offered similar comments about the level of play for the UBC Okanagan team, and chatted them up for some time.
“It was such an honour to meet her,” said Lea. “She’s so beautiful and so elegant.”
Prince William and Kate left the gym with a lot of fans, as well as a jersey apiece with the name Cambridge on the back. Their children were sent stuffed animals.