Kate Middleton: Prince George is 'growing very fast'
Four months after their son was born, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a problem familiar to any new parent: the constant need for bigger baby clothes.
During a visit to a charity for ex-offenders, the Duchess gratefully accepted a baby vest from a former burglar, saying it would come in handy because Prince George is “growing up very fast”.
The youngest member of the Royal family was left at home at Kensington Palace as the Duke and Duchess carried out only their third joint engagement since their son was born in July.
Inevitably, however, he was never far from their thoughts as they met reformed criminals at Only Connect in London.
Aaron Russell-Andrews, 22, who has started a career in acting after being helped by the charity, handed the Duchess a vest top sized three to six months with the charity’s logo and the name Prince George printed on it.
The Duchess told him it would be “a very good fit as he is growing up very fast”, adding that “he’ll like it”.
Mr Russell-Andrews’s 20-month-old daughter Teegan was less generous, however, trying to grab the top back from the Duchess, who laughed and said: “They’re very demanding at this age.”
Teegan then burst into tears when the Duke of Cambridge started speaking to her father, but she was not the only one who seemed overawed by the occasion.
Andrew Brown, a former gang member, admitted after being introduced to the Duchess that he was “shaking” and that he was “a bit of a royalist”.
The Duchess, wearing an Orla Kiely bird print dress that she previously wore on an engagement in Oxford last year, spent several minutes chatting to Mr Russell-Andrews, from Camden, north London, who admitted to committing “a crime a day” as a teenager.
He said: “The Only Connect group saw me as vulnerable and I was referred from a youth club.
“They wanted to take me on a different path to a life of burglary and robbery.
“I’m so grateful they stepped in. It shows how far I have come, I’ve come a long, long way. This place means a lot to me.”
The charity has worked with 10,000 young people and hundreds of adult offenders and claims to have reduced re-offending by 50 per cent in those it has helped.
One of its trustees is Lady Jane Fellowes, the Duke’s aunt, who said she was “delighted” the royal couple had made the trip.
The Duke and Duchess also saw the work of several other groups working under the charity's umbrella. Karis Barnard, who runs the OC Central, helping ex-offenders in drama, dance and film, said: “The Duchess told me she’s not as good at poetry but her photography is her passion. If she's going to do anything artistic, it's that.”
The Duchess, meanwhile, met volunteers training ex-offenders to sew with a social enterprise called Handmade Alliance.
“Are you guys sewing on buttons? It looks very fiddly work,” she said to volunteers Nasser Massadimi, 20, and Elise Johnson, 23, who were busy making Christmas bunting to go on sale at the charity's pop-up shop in London's West End from Thursday.
Claudia Calvert, the workroom manager said the Duchess told her sewing was not her forte. “She was saying she's not very good at it because when she tries sewing the needle normally gets caught on the pin and breaks.”