William, 40, and Kate, 41, immersed themselves in the maritime heritage of Cornwall on Thursday, marking the couple’s first official joint visit to the region since becoming the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September.
The titles are one of several royal names that the couple, who are generally known as the Prince and Princess of Wales now, now have. Prince William and Kate also still retain their titles as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, granted to them by Queen Elizabeth on their wedding day in 2011 as well as a title for Scotland (Streathern) and one for Northern Ireland (Baron and Baroness Carrickfergus).
The Prince and Princess kicked off their visit at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth and, after being briefed about the rich maritime history of the southwestern tip of England, they were shown a poignant project in the workshop. Locals are working on the refurbishment of the Kiwi, a 14-ft sailing dinghy that was presented to the late Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, as a wedding present from the Royal New Zealand Navy.
Prince William and Kate also chatted with a group who are taking part in the “Young and Talented Cornwall” project that provides financial support to help people from across Cornwall fulfill their potential, regardless of their financial means or background. The fund has given out around $500,000 to some 275 individuals in the past 10 years – including supporting future Olympic medal winners, international rugby players and musicians now playing in major orchestras.
The royal couple then watched pupils from a local school taking part in a model boat race.
The Duchy of Cornwall also has another role for William and his family: as is tradition, the estate — which owns property, farmland and other assets — provides an income for him as heir to the throne and pays for the family’s staff and official business.
In recent years, Prince William has been shadowing King Charles III and making quiet visits to the Duchy, learning about the 130,000 acres of land with 160 miles of British coastline in 23 counties of England and Wales.
The Duchy was established by King Edward III in 1337 to provide an income for the heir to the throne. King Charles, 74, used it also to pay for the life and public work of the heir to the throne and his family — and with Charles at the helm, it has become a major financial concern.
Prince William has visited the area since he received the title, but this was the first time he and Kate had done so in an official capacity. And they aren’t strangers to the area in their private downtime. William and Kate have taken their three children to the area’s Isles of Scilly for summer breaks, and Prince William had several beachside holidays in Cornwall alongside his brother, Prince Harry, when he was a teen and in his early 20s, enjoying bodyboarding and surfing and hanging out with friends.