“Thoughtful and sweet’: Prince William praised as he debuts sign language skills

Jan 15, 2020
The Duke of Cambridge stepped in for his grandmother on Tuesday. Source: Getty.

As the world waits to see what the outcome of negotiations surrounding the future of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be, after the Queen gave her blessing for the couple to quit as senior members of the firm, it was business as usual for the British royal family on Tuesday.

The Duke of Cambridge didn’t let the current drama involving his brother and sister-in-law get in the way of his official duties as he conducted an investiture ceremony on behalf of his grandmother at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

Prince William handed out honours to many individuals, including England cricket star Andrew Strauss and rapper MIA, but it was his interaction with television interpreter Alex Duguid that captured the attention of the public.

The duke used sign language to congratulate Alex – who has been the face of British TV shows such as Coronation Street for deaf audiences for decades – as he received his MBE for services to deaf people and to British Sign Language (BSL) education.

A video shared on social media by Kensington Palace showed William spelling out ‘Congratulations Alex’ using BSL, before Alex responded in kind and said ‘Thank you’ to the future king.

Royal-watchers were quick to praise the 38-year-old prince for his actions, as one wrote: “How nice and thoughtful that The Duke Of Cambridge signed. Well done to Alex Duguid MBE.”

Another commented: “So nice of William to take the time to learn a bit of SL. Congrats, Mr. Duguid!! The Duke of Cambridge is the best, the real deal.”

While another said: “Prince William is such a great person. He takes time to make people feel special and appreciated. His smile is genuine also.”

A tribute to Alex was also shared by Kensington Palace following the ceremony, which read: “He is an example of how profoundly deaf people can have an impact on their community, their peers and their country. He is passionate about BSL and the need to promote and protect it.”

Earlier this week, the father-of-three took part in discussions at Sandringham alongside the Queen, the Prince of Wales and Prince Harry. The senior royals were summoned by Her Majesty to hammer out a solution to Prince Harry and Meghan’s desire to step back from their position as front-line royals and establish financial independence.

Following the meeting on Monday, the Queen released a statement in which she said she and her family respected the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wish for a different life but would have preferred that they remain full-time working royals.

“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” she said. “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family.

“Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.”

“Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives,” the Queen’s statement added. “It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK.”

The Queen noted that she wanted the matter resolved in “the coming days”, despite the complexity of the issues the royal family is tackling.

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