How Prince William Showed His 'Real Side' Over Beer, Curry and Soccer
"It was really interesting seeing him just relax and have a laugh with us," says BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Stark
Prince William is just like any other dad when it comes to kicking back with a cold one.
BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Stark has revealed that the Duke of Cambridge, 38, had so much fun recording an episode of That Peter Crouch Podcast at Kensington Palace in March, that he kept drinking beers with Stark and his co-presenters for two hours longer than scheduled — and even missed his next meeting.
"At one point, this lady stood up to say that he's got to go on to his next appointment — God knows what that was — and he sort of just binned it off," Stark told The Andy Jaye Podcast on Tuesday.
"I think he was having a good time and I'm sure he's got his own way of relaxing, but I think in those two or three hours that we were in Palace, I do think I saw a real side to him," he continued.
"I've met him at Radio 1, and it was a very different experience," added Stark. "I felt like you could have a pint with him and genuinely see what he was about, and I really like him.
"I genuinely saw a side to him where it was like 'you are a young lad as well'."
Stark and co-host, former England football star Peter Crouch, chatted to the royal dad of three over beer and curry snacks to highlight William's Heads Up mental health campaign.
During the conversation, William jokingly accepted a challenge that 7-year-old son Prince George could one day become a record-breaking goalscorer for his favorite soccer team, Aston Villa.
He also let slip that he once left wife Kate Middleton, 38, totally perplexed by his choice of binoculars as a gift during their early dating years.
"I wrapped them. They were really nice," said William. "I was trying to convince myself about it. I was like, 'But these are really amazing, look how far you can see!' She was looking at me going, 'They're binoculars, what's going on?' It didn't go well. Honestly, I have no idea why I bought her a pair of binoculars."
According to Stark, this anecdote was just one element of a very natural conversation with the Prince, which saw Crouch sip Guinness at a palace table laid with crispy poppadoms and spicy chutneys (from Crouch's favorite curry house, Samrat in Ealing, London) and water glasses etched with the royal cipher.
"We were there, kind of talking about his campaign, but then we were all a couple of pints in, in this conversation and then I found that we were having a genuine chat with him," said Stark.
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"You could see him drop having to think too much around the party line or whatever it was he was trying to focus on and just talk," he said. "It was so nice to see."
Stark continued, "I'm not encouraging everyone to go and get pissed to have these types of conversations… but seriously, being a couple of pints in with Prince William, you realize there are similarities to what he was experiencing and what I've felt some of the time and what other people feel.
"I don't want to say pressure, but you could see that he's got a lot going on, and it was really interesting seeing him just relax and have a laugh with us."
In a thoughtful gesture, William wrote to Crouch, Stark and fellow presenter Tom Fordyce shortly afterward to thank them for visiting Kensington Palace and helping to promote the good work of the Head's Up charity.
"It was so lovely," added Stark.