Prince William has pulled out of a planned public appearance in Newcastle on Wednesday to attend the funeral of his childhood nanny Olga Powell, who died in September.
His wife, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge will instead make the trip alone it has been announced by Clarence House. The change in schedule was announced earlier today on the official Clarence House Twitter feed, stating: “Just announced - The Duke of Cambridge will not join his wife as planned on royal engagements in Tyne and Wear and Stockton-on-Tees (Wed).”
“The Duke of Cambridge will instead attend the funeral of Olga Powell, who was his and Prince Harry’s nanny for much of their childhood.”
Princes William and Harry were said to be “very saddened” by the news of the 82 year-old's death on September 26, after she had been with the princes' for 15 years, caring for them through both their parent's divorce and death of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997.
A palace spokesman said, according to The Mirror: “The princes have been informed and are very saddened to hear the news.”
Mrs Powell was a guest at Prince William's wedding last year and only a week before her death had decided to write to Prince Harry, currently serving in Afghanistan as an Apache helicopter pilot, as she was worried about his safety following a Taliban attack on Camp Bastion, where he is based.
In an interview before the royal wedding, she said the boys had been “like my grandsons”.
“I have a very normal relationship with them. Their upbringing was very normal and their parents wanted them to have as ordinary a childhood as they could,” she told The Hertfordshire Mercury.
"If they saw a muddy puddle they wanted to jump in it and if there was something to climb, they wanted to climb it.”
The planned visit will be the first since Kate and William returned from their royal tour in South East Asia. As part of the visit the Duchess will meet people involved in the London Olympic Games and pupils from Percy Hedley School, which teaches children with cerebral palsy, at Newcastle’s Civic Centre.
She will also meet representatives from Newcastle University, as well as visit to a drug rehabilitation recovery service and meeting families involved with Action on Addiction’s Moving Parents and Children Together.
The Duchess became a patron of the group, Action on Addiction, who work with children who's parents are drug users, in January this year.
It will also mark the first public appearance by Kate in the UK since topless photos were printed in international tabloids. The royal couple were left “furious” after images taken while the couple sunbathed during a recent holiday to the Provence region of France were splashed across the front cover of at least six publications, beginning with French Closer magazine in mid September.
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