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"You brought them for me? Which one can I have?" Harry, 31, quipped when a local introduced her two toddlers

By Simon Perry
Updated February 05, 2016 01:50 PM
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Prince Harry gave a glimpse into his parental side when he joked with a young mom during a visit to a flood-hit area of rural England on Friday.

When Rebecca Parker told him she had brought two toddlers specially for him, the prince, 31, quipped: “You brought them for me? Which one can I have?”

Parker, from Blackpool, had her 18-month-old daughter Maggie and her friend Stephanie Benyan’s daughter Matilda, 2, with her in a stroller outside the village hall in St. Michael’s on Wyre, about 240 miles northwest of London, when Harry walked by.

He was there to see the devastating impact that the flooding has had upon the surrounding community, and learn more about the efforts that have been made to help them.

Ninety-three homes and 21 businesses were affected as heavy rainfall led to drainage systems becoming overwhelmed and caused the banks of the River Brock to break.

Displaying his chatty charm, the prince took questions from schoolkids, met soldiers who’d been instrumental in tackling the disaster and spoke with families whose homes had been damaged.

After meeting village dignitaries inside the flood-wrecked hall, Harry strolled down the street and looked inside two family homes, which were flooded when the River Brock broke its banks on December 6.

There, he met Alan Bailey, 64, and wife Carolyn, 61, who are now in temporary accommodations. Mr. Bailey told reporters, “We didn’t know what to expect from him, but he was very easy to talk to, such a nice person.

“He took time and I thanked him for that.”

His wife added, “He’s bringing people’s attention back. He was very concerned.”

Afterwards, Harry had lunch at local pub The Grapes, which was used as a control center for the emergency services when the flooding hit.

The village is in the county of Lancashire, which was badly hit by the flooding in December. More than 1,700 businesses and homes were damaged across its 12 districts and in the borough of Wyre.

Harry, who traveled up to Lancashire by train, started the day by visiting the nearby Weeton Barracks to meet some of the hundreds of soldiers who have played a key role responding to the flood crisis.

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The 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, had been at the forefront of support to flooding operations since the beginning of December. For over four weeks – including over Christmas – every member of the Battalion of about 500 soldiers was deployed at some point across the area.

Outside, pupils from Weeton Primary School at Weeton Barracks, Lancashire, gave Harry something of an inquisition – firing off the sort of questions that might make adults wince.

“How much money do you earn?” one kid asked.

Another said, “Why aren’t you wearing your crown?”

“What football team do you support” another child asked.

“He’s got a very posh accent,” Kian Wright, 10, said.

Harry, who left the Army last year, was happy to engage in a bit of banter with the troops.

When one soldier said a family in Appleby, Cumbria, gave him Christmas dinner while he was helping them, Harry teased, “You look like you’ve had a few too many Christmas dinners.”

Lieutenant Colonel Hamish Cormack, commanding officer of 2 Lancs, was delighted to see his men’s efforts recognized with a royal visit from Harry.

“He was very keen to recognize the efforts of the community and how they all pulled together at a really challenging time when their homes were facing ruin,” he said.