Prince William Heads Out to See the Crown — the Pub, That Is! — as Lockdown Eases in England

The Duke of Cambridge opened up about his family's time in the countryside during the coronavirus pandemic

Prince William Oxford
Prince William. Photo: Shutterstock

Prince William was back in the pub on Friday as the U.K. took the first steps to reopening the hospitality industry.

The Duke of Cambridge, 38, headed to the historic Rose & Crown pub in Snettisham, which is about five miles from his home at Anmer Hall, Norfolk, to see how the owners and staff were preparing for new ways of operating.

Pubs in England can reopen on Saturday as coronavirus cases there continue to drop and the U.K. subsequently shifts to more lenient lockdown restrictions amid the pandemic.

William visited the 600-year-old hostelry to show support for how staff has had to adapt, and to thank them for what they have done for the local community. At the start of lockdown, the pub donated its leftover stock to the Purfleet Trust, which provides help for single homeless people in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.

Royal visit in Norfolk
Prince William at the bakery in King's Lynn. PA Images

During his 45-minute visit, William chatted with owners Jeannette and Anthony Goodrich, who have been the landlords for 25 years, while snacking on a bowl of fries and a glass of Aspall cider, from nearby Suffolk.

The trio discussed challenges that the business has faced throughout lockdown, including furloughing employees and applying for additional financial help. Staff told the prince about their joy at being able to return to work and how they'll safely welcome back customers.

"He was really interested and he wanted to understand what kind of measures we’ve had to take to prepare for reopening," Mrs. Goodrich said, according to local newspaper the Eastern Daily Press. "He didn’t just want to speak to us. He spoke to Lucy Heffer, duty manager, and Phil Milner, head chef."

William also opened about his family's experience during the pandemic.

“We talked about the implications lockdown has had for families," Mrs. Goodrich told the newspaper. "He said they’ve been very lucky — they’ve been in Norfolk all the time, they’ve had space and sunshine. He realized how difficult it’s been for people in cities.”

The visit comes a couple of weeks since William and wife Kate Middleton, 38, went to a bakery and a garden center to signal how British businesses were gingerly getting back to normal trading.

Earlier this week, William and Kate called healthcare workers in Canada to praise efforts there to help cope with the crisis.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, <a href="" data-inlink="true">Prince William</a>, Duke of Cambridge during a call to a Canadian hospital
Kate Middleton and Prince William make a video call to the Canadian hospital. Kensington Palace

To mark the country's day of celebration, the royal couple talked via video chat to hospital staff in Canada about the mental health challenges they faced during the coronavirus pandemic. Kate even paid subtle tribute to the Commonwealth country by sporting red and white, the colors of the nation's flag.

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Speaking with employees at Fraser Health’s Surrey Memorial Hospital in British Columbia, the royal couple were told about the particular difficulties of providing care throughout the outbreak, including the impact it has had on staff, patients and their families.

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