PRINCE Andrew’s whistle-stop tour of Milton Keynes was met with smiles and handshakes as he visited some of the town’s business leaders and apprentices on Wednesday.
His Royal Highness arrived in a helicopter from Windsor before travelling by car to Stonebridge-based company Niftylift.
He then visited Mercedes UK Apprentice training academy, followed by a trip to the De Vere Group in Newport Pagnell, where he met with apprentices working there.
Kellie Rixon, Managing Director of De Vere Academy said: “We are delighted that His Royal Highness came to visit Harben House, and was so engaged – not only in the message and approach of the De Vere Academy, but the apprentices themselves. He really took an interest in each apprentice and their expectations, hopes and aspirations for the future.”
Tobias Renault, one of the apprentices who met the Duke of York said of the visit: “It was inspiring to meet him because of his past as a pilot in the Navy. He was very polite and eager to understand what we do. He asked us a lot of questions and was a pleasure to talk to.”
The Prince was then whisked away to a venue not unfamiliar with the odd Royal visit or two – Bletchley Park. There, he unveiled a memorial to wartime pigeon hero Royal Blue. Royal Blue, bred and trained in Sandringham by The Duke of York’s grandfather, King George VI, was awarded the Dickin Medal for bravery as he was the first pigeon during World War Two to bring a message from a force-landed crew on the continent.
David Higgins, President of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association, said: “This visit by HRH The Duke of York continues the historic relationship between the Royal Family and Racing Pigeons that began with the Duke’s great-grandfather, King George V.”