Prince William visited his local pub for a pint and a plate of chips ahead of the reopening in England as coronavirus restrictions ease.
William, 38, joked at the end of June that he couldn’t wait to get back to the pub, and he got his wish on Friday as he popped to the Rose and Crown, near to his Norfolk home of Anmer Hall, to see how they had adapted to new guidelines after the pandemic.
The Rose and Crown is a pub in Snettisham, a few miles from the duke’s home, which he and his family have been to before.
William sat in the garden with landlords Anthony and Jeannette Goodrich, and had a pint of Aspell’s cider and chips.
After using hand sanitiser, he said: “Can I have a pint of cider please? I’m a cider man.”
They sat outside along with head chef Philip Milner and duty manager Lucy Heffer, and the duke told them: “I don’t know where I pay, I’ll do that before I leave, I promise.”
He talked to the landlords about their expectations for what has been dubbed ‘super Saturday’ with the hospitality sector reopening on 4 July.
He said: “It could end up with everyone at the pub, because people just want a change of scene, being at home for so long.
“Are you worried about people getting a bit out of hand this weekend? I guess it’s more of a problem with the larger pub chains.”
Mr Goodrich, 65, admitted: “We are a bit concerned but we are ready for it.”
He said it was part of the business to be prepared for rowdy behaviour, adding: “The only real worry is if we have 100 people in the garden and it rains. But we’ll have to deal with that.”
William replied: “I am sure people will want to get out and explore locally. I don’t think they’ll want to go far afield.”
We were delighted to receive a visit from The Duke of Cambridge today to show his support for the people, businesses and members of staff across the country who have been impacted by this crisis.— The Rose & Crown (@rosecrownsnetti) July 3, 2020
The Duke was very interested to hear of our own personal experiences of lockdown. pic.twitter.com/8ZoyVquz3R
The Goodrichs have owned the pub for 25 years and had to close their premises and furlough more than 25 full-time employees when the pandemic hit and lockdown was announced.
However they were able to offer takeaway pints which Mrs Goodrich, 64, said were “going down well”.
Some parts of the pub have to remain closed from Saturday, including a popular children’s play area set up like a galleon.
William said: “The children have been in there a few times.”
Adding of the ropes put up to prevent people getting in, he said: “They will see that as a challenge.”
He told the staff that customers would have to learn to get used to the new normal in pubs: “We all have to take responsibility for our own two-metre bubble.”
Father-of-three William has been getting back to in-person engagements in the last few days, and visited a bakery in Norfolk ahead of his birthday.
He bought some pastries and was also given a cake to celebrate his big day.