County visit for royal duo

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PRINCE William and his bride-to-be Kate Middleton came to Lancashire to embark on their last official engagement together before the royal wedding later this month.

Union and St George Cross flags flew outside many shops and pubs in the east Lancashire town of Darwen to greet the couple.

Prince William and Kate Middleton meet players from a local youth football team during a visit to Witton Country Park in Darwen, Lancashire

Prince William and Kate Middleton meet players from a local youth football team during a visit to Witton Country Park in Darwen, Lancashire

William and Kate arrived at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy yesterday on the first leg of their day-long visit to the area as hundreds of well-wishers lined outside in the heavy rain.

They were met by crowds of thousands on their second and final engagement at nearby Witton Country Park in Blackburn.

William officially opened the academy, launched an award scheme and observed a sports display in the park with his fiancee.

At the academy in the heart of the town, the couple were welcomed by the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen, Sheila Williams, the chief executive of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Graham Burgess, and Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry. They were then greeted by the principal of the independent non-fee-paying school, Brendan Loughran, and its sponsor Rod Aldridge, former executive chairman of Capita.

William gave a short address to students, parents, governors and staff. More than 100 newspaper, TV and radio journalists covered the academy visit, from the United States, Australia, France, Germany and Norway.

Later, William and Miss Middleton visited Witton Country Park as part of the Prince’s role as patron of the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge.

The initiative aims to protect 2,012 outdoor recreational spaces across the UK.