‘Au revoir for now’: Wills and Kate bid farewell to Paris


William and Kate meet Jessica Bambal Akan, 25, a victim of the Paris terror attacks
William and Kate meet Jessica Bambal Akan, 25, a victim of the Paris terror attacks
Royal couple watch rugby, enjoy art, meet terror victims in two-day charm offensive in Paris

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge have bid farewell to Paris after a two-day Brexit charm offensive.

In a cheery final message before departing, a Kensington Palace spokesman said: ‘What an incredible two days in Paris! Thank you to everyone who made the visit so memorable. Au revoir for now!’

Kate was handed a posy of lilac flowers by a pair of schoolchildren before the pair headed back home.  

Earlier they endured a nail-biting finish to the Six Nations rugby match between Wales and France at the Stade de France. 

Kate looked a picture of elegance in a double-breasted Carolina Herrera coat.

As the Welsh took the lead William finally looked back in his comfort zone after appearing awkward since he was filmed dancing ‘like a dad’ in a club in Verbier, Switzerland, earlier in the week.

But he looked a bag of nerves as France pushed for the line in the dying seconds. To his dismay, France scored in the 100th minute and converted to win 20-18.   

Earlier they met war veterans and victims of the Nice and Bataclan terror attacks at Les Invalides military hospital, also the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. 

They visited the Impressionists’ gallery at the Musée d’Orsay before playing rugby with French youngsters outside the Eiffel Tower. 

At the hospital Kate wore a chic Chanel suit in muted shades of black, grey and burgundy, with her hair loose, courtesy of her personal hairdresser, Amanda Tucker, who travelled with her.

They learnt about the important historic and current roles of the site, in particular its work supporting veterans undergoing rehabilitation programmes.

Among those they met were Jessica Bambal Akan, 25, who was shot seven times in the leg, hip and back as she dined with friends at La Belle Equipe restaurant in Paris.

There was also Kevin, a 28-year-old fireman, a concert-goer at the Bataclan, who was shot in the leg. Both have been undergoing rehabilitation at the hospital ever since.

Jessica said the encounter meant a great deal to both, who have found it invaluable to speak about their trauma and prove to the public that life goes on.

William told the Bataclan attack survivors: ‘We think you are very strong and very brave, you’ve made amazing progress.’

The couple also spent time with the elderly inhabitants of Les Invalides, including one 101-year-old man who escaped the Nazis three times during the Second World War.

The Duchess was charmed by Colonel Jean Camus, 100, and Chief Petty Officer Georges Zwang, who will turn 102 in May.

Both reached for her hand to kiss it as they were introduced, prompting a smile from Kate.

Moving to the prosthetics room, the couple met Sergeant Phillippe, who was training in the French army as a dog handler when he had motorcycle accident in France leaving him with one prosthetic leg.

He has previously met the Duke, who presented him with medals at the Invictus Games, where he won a gold in the 100m and silver in the 200m in 2014, then a gold in the driving challenge and bronze in the 100m in 2016.

The couple rekindled their shared love of art when they visited the Musee D’Orsay.

They met when they both studied history of art at St Andrew’s University in Scotland (although William later switched to geography) and were keen to visit the museum which houses the largest collection of Impressionist masterpieces in the world.

In a tender moment William and Kate looked out onto the world’s most romantic city through the face of a giant clock.

The gallery remained open to the public throughout, prompting gasps from tourists who crowded round to take pictures and videos on their phones.

Home to some of the greatest works of French and European art produced in the 19th and 20th centuries, they had specifically asked to see one some of Claude Monet’s most famous paintings including one of his water lilies series, painted in 1904.

They stopped to take a close look at London, Houses of Parliament, which was inspired by Monet’s 1871 visit to London when he was struck by the ‘effects of fog on the Thames’.

The masterpiece will go on loan to the Tate Britain later this year as part of an exhibition called: ‘The Impressionists in London’.



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