William was spotted getting doused in water as runners passed him by. It isn’t clear if the squirt was an intentional light-hearted moment or just an accident, but the prince laughed it off in any case.
Also at the race was Prince Harry, although he was apparently absent for the water incident.
The three royals, whose mental health campaign Heads Together is the official charity of the marathon, were at the start line to sound the klaxon that marked the beginning of the race and stayed on throughout the race at various points to show their support.
But they were also there to offer last words of encouragement to some of the 700-plus runners supporting Heads Together, including military veterans, a family who lost their father to suicide, and a woman dressed as a strawberry.
It was Harry, 32, who threw himself into the pre-race warm-up at Blackheath with the greatest enthusiasm, greeting a succession of runners with a warm hug.
“You’re like my little brother,” one woman told him.
“Oh, was he ginger with a beard?” laughed Harry.
William, 34, chatted with runners about training tips and previous notable marathon “celebrities” – he was particularly fascinated by Lloyd Scott, who ran the marathon in a 120 lb. antique diving suit in 2002. He also marveled at how successful the group’s campaign had been in the run-up to the marathon.
“Even friends of mine who never text me have messaged me to say what a fantastic week we’ve had,” he said.
It is the culmination of a week of interviews, morale-boosting and revelations from them as they continued what they see as a national conversation on mental wellbeing. It begun with Harry saying that he had sought therapy to cope with his ongoing grief at the death of his mother Princess Diana, and then was followed by William urging people not to have a “stiff upper lip” about the problems they face and be open to talking about them.
During the pre-marathon press, Kate, 35, sympathized with the difficulties of young mothers, as parenthood can be “lonely,”. She and William also joined in some fun with a BBC Radio One presenter who was running in the race, talking during a surprise on-air appearance on Friday about their family life of nights in, eating take-out curry in cozy clothes.
RELATED VIDEO: 12 Times Prince Harry Made Us Wish He Was a Dad
The Heads Together runners included Ivan Castro, 49, a U.S. Army officer who was blinded in Iraq, and Karl Hinett, 30, who suffered terrible burns in a petrol bomb attack in Iraq.
Hinett, who was running his 151st marathon, has just returned from running the Boston Marathon with Castro. He said of his running companion, “Ivan pulled me through in Boston. I was suffering.”
Castro, who also went to the South Pole with Harry for Walking with the Wounded, said, “Harry is a great athlete. He is patient, kind, caring and humble. I’m certain that if he had to opportunity to run the marathon himself he would.”
The royals also chatted with the Creasy family – mother Pippa, 59, and her son William, 25, and daughter Henrietta, 30, – who were running in memory of their husband and father Terry, a doctor who killed himself while suffering from depression.
Creasy told reporters, “Terry would have been so proud of them. He is not there to share this happiness. That’s when we really miss him. I cannot tell you how much it has been an emotional journey.”
Harry also met Sally Orange, 43, from Stafford, who was dressed as a strawberry – even though Harry initially made the mistake of thinking she was a tomato. She told him that she was carrying out a challenge to run seven marathons on seven continents dressed as seven different pieces of fruit – including orange, apple, banana, pair, pineapple and a bunch of grapes.
“Doesn’t it get hot?” said Harry.
After they started the race, the three royals stood on the podium for more than 15 minutes, applauding and waving to the competitors they knew as the thousands of runners streamed past.
Later, in Greenwich, William, Kate and Harry were mobbed by runners when they joined Heads Together supporters at a cheering point along the marathon route.
The royal trio, wearing black Heads Together tops, spent about half an hour chatting to supporters and whooping and clapping as runners sped past them as they approached the Cutty Sark.
Harry and Kate took turns waving a giant Heads Together foam hand with pointing finger as runners did a double-take when they recognized them.
Many stopped to pose for selfies with the royals or ran over to high-five them or shake hands.
“Wills and Harry!” one runner shouted across to them, waving. Others applauded the trio as they ran by.
“Well done guys,” William shouted. “Thank you so much,” Kate told some of the 700 competitors running on behalf of Heads Together.
The royals also spoke to three of the 10 runners who featured with them in a BBC documentary, Mind Over Marathon, broadcast on Thursday. The program told how the runners had spent 20 weeks training to run the marathon as part of the process of overcoming their own mental health problems.
But only seven were actually running today. One, Steve Maher, 51, from York, had already pulled out because of general healthy problems and two others, Claudia Barnett and former X Factor contestant Shereece Foster, were forced to miss the race due to injury.
William, Kate and Harry spoke to each of them. “We saw them in the race village this morning and have met them a few times because of the show,” Claudia, 23, from Brighton, said. They just said well done for how far we have come. They watched the show and told us they loved it.
“I fractured my spine when I was a child and, unfortunately, the short time we had to prepare for this just wasn’t enough for me. I’m gutted. Shereece has got bad knees. Both of us have been through physio and done everything possible to get here but it just wasn’t enough.”
Steve, who has had mental problems getting on trains and dealing with crowds was congratulated by William for making it to the cheering point.
“My biggest issue was having to get on the train and deal with the crowds,” Steve said.
A crowd gathered near to where the royals stood in a cordoned off area cheering on the runners. As many craned their necks to catch a glimpse, one young woman in a flat above a sushi restaurant got a bird’s eye view.
“Harry, I love you,” she shouted.
The London Marathon chose the royals’ Heads Together campaign (an umbrella group of mental health charities that the royals back) as the official charity partner for this year’s race and royals were at the start line of the race and dotted along the course.
On Friday, the trio welcomed the rise in awareness that has come this week. In a statement, their spokesman said, “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have been overwhelmed by the response to the Heads Together campaign. We are in the middle of a truly national conversation on mental health.
“They are incredibly grateful to everyone who has shared their stories in recent weeks. And having asked others to start conversations on mental health with their friends and families, they wanted to show that they are taking part as well. They hope the film shows how positive a conversation on mental health can be.”