“They say that number one is a life changer and that number two is a game-changer,” the 32-year-old royal told a group of parents who handed the couple flowers and Easter eggs during their Friday visit.
William’s comments came after the couple visited XLP Arts Project at Christ Church in the Gipsy Hill neighborhood of south London. There, the couple watched a special performance put on by young people in the charity.
Each act – from singers to poets – introduced their life stories, which are a world away from the privilege of royal life.
The last act was Epix, a soul and rap group put together by Steven Ekpenyong, 23. He told the guests, with William and Kate listening intently in the front row, of his difficult beginnings.
“I was angry because of a lot of circumstances that life put us through.”
He said how some teachers had “constantly” told him and his friends that they would “end up dead end job or in prison” by the time they left school and that they started “believing it.”
Ekpenyong explained that he got caught up in criminal activity and turned to the streets.
“I would do anything to make money by the end of the day to make sure there’s food,” he told PEOPLE.
But he got involved with XLP’s arts program and he ended up working on a project to convert a police riot van to a mobile recording studio and it turned his life around.
Meanwhile, Epix’s performance got the royal couple moving.
“They had a whale of a time,” charity founder Patrick Regan told PEOPLE of Will and Kate’s experience. “They were loving it. Singing along when they needed to, tapping along when they needed. They were very involved.”
Regan, who set up the charity in the church 18 years ago, adds, “They said they’ve had to sit through a lot of performances in their time but it was the stories from the kids, then they perform, and they realize the context. They were blown away.
“They came because they wanted to learn and understand some of the issues. All the kids got a chance to speak and tell their stories. They were fascinated to hear from these young people who’ve had incredible challenges and have overcome them. They’re very interested in helping grassroots charities – we’re not massive but it’s fascinating that they’ve come and chosen a small charity.”
At the end of the 15 minute show, the couple was given T-shirts with the logo I refuse to believe this is a lost generation – including two for Prince George and their second child.
Ekpenyong adds that the couple gave them “lots of words of encouragement and saying how brilliant we are and we’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing.
“[William] was saying he wanted to be the sixth member of the group. And he was asking about my wedding day – and I invited him.”
Later, William and Kate were visiting the community bus run by the charity. Inside the couple saw where kids can have their nails done, play computer games and use the music studio.
They heard stories from young people who had lost friends to knife crime and had come from families where life has been “so dysfunctional that they’ve run away from home,” Regan explained. It’s a world away from their life.
“It’s about bringing worlds together isn’t it,” Regan added. “It’s an education for all of us.” Regan adds, “It helps the young people realize there is hope in London.”
“They were really interested in the area around mental health. The duchess has previously stated she wants to do more in that area. She was asking really interesting questions around that”
Earlier, on their brief walkabout, the couple were given an easter egg for George – but William had his eyes on it. “That might end up in George’s Dad’s stomach,” says Christine Woollard, 49, a nanny.
“[Kate] was blooming,” she added. “[She’s] looking really well.”
And William still had music on his mind when he asked nanny Susan Chalcroft about her charge, Kelsey, who’s the same age as Prince George.
He asked, “Does she dance, has she got rhythm?”
American student-teacher Caitlin Cooksey, 21, from New York, had come across town from Twikenham to see the couple with her pal Katherine Witty, 20, from Chicago. “I told [Kate] that I was training to be a special education teacher and she congratulated us. She said it was the most rewarding field you can have.
“She’s the most beautiful, lovely person to meet.”
And William revealed to Parl Reardon, 50, from nearby West Norwood that he was anxious for his pregnant wife to give birth.
Reardon told reporters, “We asked [Kate] when it’s due and she said April – end of April.
“William said he couldn’t wait for the baby to be born – he said he wanted it now, he couldn’t wait another minute.”