The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stopped off for a takeaway fish supper at their favourite chippy after a busy day of royal engagements yesterday.
William, 38, and Kate, 39, popped into the award-winning Anstruther Fish Bar, in the coastal town of Anstruther, where they were ‘regular customers’ while students at St Andrews University 20 years ago.
The couple ordered a £7.95 takeaway haddock supper, wrapped in paper, which they ate on a bench on the pier. They went back for ice creams – William’s in a cup, Kate’s in a cone – and chatted to staff, with Kate saying it had been a ‘trip down memory lane’.
It was a day full of nostalgia for the couple with events centered around the university where they met as freshers. The Cambridges arrived in St Andrews on Tuesday night, the day before their engagements in the town, and enjoyed a private ‘date night’ dinner at Forgan’s restaurant where they were seated in a ‘secluded’ corner table.
After staying locally, rather than at the Queen’s Edinburgh residence of Holyroodhouse, the couple enjoyed a morning of land yacht racing on a St Andrews beach. Later they met students and toured university grounds before making the short drive to the coastal village of Pittenweem to meet local fishermen and their families.
At the end of these official engagements, the Cambridges continued on to Anstruther, just four minutes’ drive away. After their fish and chips they were met by a royal helicopter, which landed in the children’s park, and flown back to the Palace of Holyroodhouse to host a special drive-in screening of Disney’s Cruella for NHS staff.
Prince William and Kate will today return to London after an action-packed week of engagements. The visit is part of a broader royal charm offensive to help persuade Scotland to resist the demands of nationalists for independence.
Local haunt: William, 38, and Kate, 39, popped into the award-winning Anstruther Fish Bar, in the coastal town of Anstruther, some 20 miles east of Fife, where they were ‘regular customers’ while students at St Andrews 20 years ago
The couple ordered a £7.95 takeaway haddock supper, wrapped in paper, which they ate on a bench on the pier. They returned for ice creams – William’s in a cup, Kate’s in a cone – before returning to Edinburgh by helicopter
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge strolled along the pier to enjoy the fish and chips, away from the crowds
Prince William and Kate Middleton ordered a fish supper before returning for ice cream (left) and chatted to locals on their way through the town (right)
Delighted residents snapped photos of the couple as they strolled casually down the street and waited in line in the chip shop.
Make like Kate in a double breasted blazer by Holland Cooper
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How the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s to St Andrews and the surrounding area unfolded
Delighted residents snapped photos of the couple as they strolled casually down the street and waited in line in the chip shop.
They took their takeaway and sat side-by-side on a nearby bench, away from the main street.
Later the couple returned to the fish bar and picked up an ice cream to go. It is not known what flavours they ordered but the takeaway has more than 70.
Staff at the Anstruther Fish Bar shared their excitement and details of the couple’s visit in a Facebook post.
It read: ‘We can hardly believe it’s almost 20 years since we last had the honour of frying up some Scottish haddock and chips for, our then regular customers, Prince William and Catherine Middleton, while they were students at St Andrews University.
A chippy fit for a (future) king! What Wills and Kate ordered from award-winning family business where the couple dined as students
From the Anstruther Fish Bar menu:
Traditional Specialty Haddock In Batter, £7.95 (£10.65 for large)
Fresh Scottish haddock deep fried in our ‘secret recipe’ light, crispy batter
Includes a portion of chips
‘We make our own luxury dairy ice cream here on the premises to the original ‘Brattesani’ recipe (Est 1919) using only the finest fresh Scottish milk and cream. We have over 70 different varieties – a mixture of old favourites and many exciting new flavours too.
It is not known what flavours William and Kate ordered.
Anstruther Fish Bar is owned by husband and wife Robert and Alison Smith.
Robert comes from a long line of East Neuk fishermen, tracing his fishing ancestry back to the 1700s. His grandfather Robert Smith OBE served on steam drifters from the East Neuk before becoming a prominent skipper at the port of Granton, Edinburgh.
Mr Smith’s son, David, followed his father to sea and worked his way up to the helm of ‘Argonaut’, his own 72ft fishing boat The Argonaut name adorned a series of successful fishing boats under his command.
David also championed a series of innovations designed to make the work of his fellow fishermen safer and less arduous, and he was honoured with the MBE for his services to the fishing industry.
In 1980 the younger Robert Smith and his wife Alison took the Argonaut name and gave it to their first business together, a fish processing business in St Monans which supplies fresh, hand-filleted haddock to fish and chip shops and retailers throughout the region.
The couple took over the Anstruther Fish Bar and Restaurant in 2003 and now run the chippy with their children, nieces and nephews.
The chippy was crowned the UK’s Seafish Fish and Chip Shop of the Year in 2008/09, beating some 12,000 outlets across the UK. The fish and chip shop has also won Food Awards Scotland’s Takeaway of the Year Award (2014).
‘Fast-forward to this afternoon and you can imagine our excitement when we had the privilege of welcoming back the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (or, to give them their official Scottish titles … The Earl and Countess of Strathearn) to Anstruther Fish Bar.
‘Their Royal Highnesses have been in the East Neuk of Fife today and surprised us by ending their visit with a takeaway fish supper, which the Duchess told us, was a lovely “trip down memory lane”.
‘They enjoyed the whole takeaway experience, as most visitors to Anstruther do, sitting on a bench by the harbour, while no doubt keeping a watchful eye out for the local, hungry seagulls!
‘Before heading back to their waiting helicopter, they popped in for some ice cream and to chat with some of our thrilled staff.
‘The Duke thanked us for the fish and chips and made a point on telling Andrew that they were just as good, if not better than he remembered from his student days.’
Other residents shared their sightings on social media, with one writing on Facebook: ‘Prince William and Kate visited today for a fish supper – sitting down the pier and a wee walk along Shore Street. They stopped to chat to us on the way for their cone.
The owner of Brackneess House Luxury B&B wrote: ‘Great to see William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, enjoying themselves back in Andtruther again today.
‘They were so relaxed and looked just liked locals as they wandered around the town and of course taking in a tasty fish supper from the world’s best Anstruther Fish Bar (just as they did regularly when they were both students in St Andrews.
‘They could’ve stayed the night with us too, but unfortunately we are full! Hopefully next time… It’s definitely handy for parking anyway, as their helicopter was parked just in front of the house!’
Later the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hosted NHS Charities Together and NHS staff for a unique drive-in cinema to watch a special screening of Disney’s Cruella at the Palace – where they are staying – on the penultimate day of their week-long visit to Scotland.
Before the screening, Kate delivered a short speech in which she paid tribute to NHS staff across Scotland and thanked them for their dedication, commitment and personal sacrifice.
She said: ‘As Joint Patrons of NHS Charites Together, William and I are absolutely delighted that so many of you could join us here tonight. We wanted to thank you for the extraordinary dedication, commitment and personal sacrifice you have shown in supporting our communities through this pandemic.
‘It is a real privilege to work with NHS Charities Together. For the last 13 years it has worked tirelessly to improve services for patients and support NHS staff and volunteers, both practically and emotionally. Today, this work has never been more important.
‘So, with an enormous thank you to Her Majesty The Queen for allowing us to host the first-ever drive-in film night here at Holyrood. And with a huge thank you to Disney and BAFTA, for putting on this evening, and to the fabulous actress Tipper for joining us here tonight, William and I invite you to grab your popcorn, cuddle up under your blankets and be transported to 1970s Britain for an evening of much-deserved fun, drama, glamour and escapism!’
Disney is giving Cruella de Vil the live-action treatment with its anticipated new film Cruella, starring Emma Stone as the sinister protagonist, Tipper Seifert-Cleveland as ‘young Cruella’ and Emma Thompson as Baroness von Hellman.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge popped in for fish and chips before heading to Edinburgh
The owner of a nearby B&B shared photos of the Duke and Duchess’ helicopter on the green
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s helicopter landed in the town and took the couple back to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh
The Duchess of Cambridge was smartly dressed in a striped top and Holland Cooper blazer
Earlier the couple paid a visit to St Andrews, where they met at university 20 years ago, and spoke to students about their pandemic experiences. They also visited St Salvator’s, the halls of residence they both shared.
The couple became friends in their first year before romance blossomed after William saw ‘hot’ Kate strut down a charity fashion show catwalk in a sheer dress. They graduated in 2005 and William proposed five years later.
William and Kate, who share Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, six, and Prince Louis, three, and celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary this year, were in excellent spirits as they took a trip down memory lane before continuing to Fife where they met local fishermen and their families.
During the visit to Pittenweem Harbour on the Firth of Forth, the Duke and Duchess were shown the fishermen’s boats, which catch langoustines, lobsters and crabs.
After the brief stop in Anstruther the couple boarded the royal helicopter, which landed in the local children’s play park, and returned to the Palace of Holyroodhouse to host a special drive-in screening of Disney’s Cruella for NHS staff (pictured)
The couple arrived to greet their guests in a Land Rover Defender that previously belonged to Prince Philip, who passed away aged 99 on April 9
Their Royal Highnesses spoke with individuals involved in various stages of the fishing process, including fishermen, the harbourmaster and a fish merchant, before enjoying a seafood BBQ with local restaurateur Amy Elles, who buys produce from the harbour at the local market.
Earlier in the day William and Kate went head-to-head in a land yacht race in St Andrews at West Sands Beach.
Kate, who was dressed down in her favourite £159 Longshore Barbour jacket, £310 See by Chloe boots and a £115 Campbell’s of Beauly Fairisle Jumper, appeared unfazed by the strong winds and wet weather, and beamed as she shot past her husband.
At one point the Duchess’s back wheel was lifted into the air by the force of the wind – but not even that was enough to stop Kate from smiling.
The royal couple were joined by a group from Fife Young Carers, which helps young carers maintain their well-being through a range of outdoor activities, workshops, and residential trips.
Plenty to smile about! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today returned to the University of St Andrews where they met as students 20 years ago. The couple were in excellent spirits despite the rain
University sweethearts: Prince William and Kate Middleton on the day of their graduation ceremony in 2005
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spoke to young carers about the challenges they have faced during the pandemic.
They also heard about the charity’s work to raise awareness of the role of young carers in the local area, including introducing a ‘Young Carers Authorisation Card’ scheme in schools, pharmacies and other medical settings.
The card helps young carers easily identify themselves, without having to repeatedly outline their circumstances and personal stories to those in the local community.
The session was hosted by Blown Away, a local company who are the only commercial land yachting company in Scotland, and host sessions in St Andrews and other iconic Scottish locations.
Head-to-head: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sailed down the sand at West Sands Beach, St Andrews, yesterday morning
There she blows! The Duchess of Cambridge had her land yachting kart lifted off the sand in a safety demonstration
Thrilled: The couple beamed as they crossed West Sands Beach, St Andrews, despite the bad weather
The birthplace of a royal romance: As William and Kate return to St Andrews 20 years on from when they met in halls, how a friendship between a homesick prince and his ‘hot’ flatmate bloomed into a first love that’s stood the test of time
William and Kate both initially enrolled to study History of Art (he switched to geography after that) and lived in the same hall of residence, St Salvator’s – known as Sallies.
As Kate recalled in their engagement interview: ‘I turned bright red and sort of scuttled off, feeling very shy about meeting him.’
It wasn’t too long, however, before, seeing him every day around the campus – and in the university pool where they often swam together early in the morning – she was as relaxed with him as he was with her.
William had hoped that by avoiding a big metropolitan university he’d be able to merge into local life relatively unnoticed. Now he was finding that in a small town like St Andrews the opposite was true.
He was weary of avoiding eye contact with strangers and pointedly declined invitations to join university clubs.
The young prince reportedly struggled with homesickness but found a listening ear in Kate, although there was initially no romantic involvement.
Centre of attention: It was in 2002 that Kate reportedly caught William’s eye when she sashayed in a see-through sheer dress with visible black underwear down the runway at a university charity fashion show, prompting Wills’ much-quoted comment, ‘Wow, Kate’s hot!’
At the time she had a boyfriend, Rupert Finch, a dark and handsome fourth-year student reading law. (These days Rupert is a company lawyer with Johnson Matthey, the science and tech company, married, with three children, to Lady Natasha Rufus Isaacs, dressmaker daughter of the Marquess of Reading.)
But then, William also had a girlfriend, second-year English student Carley Massy-Birch, a Devon farmer’s strikingly attractive daughter who was, according to her mother Mimi, ‘definitely an item’ with the prince for a couple of months.
Meanwhile, meeting around the campus as friends, William and Kate were entirely relaxed in each other’s company. The tall, slender brunette who liked an early morning jog soon became one of the group who joined William for breakfast before lectures.
The budding friendship, it must be said, did not go unnoticed. Fellow students would joke to her, ‘Bet you’ll be wearing a tiara soon’. Certainly, some of the other girls in her year, a number of them from well-connected families, were positively suspicious of the middle-class girl’s easy closeness to the Queen’s grandson.
Graduating into royal life: Kate Middleton at her graduation in 2005, by which time her relationship with Prince William had been made public. He proposed five years later
It was in early 2002 that Kate reportedly caught William’s eye when she sashayed in a see-through sheer dress with visible black underwear down the runway at a university charity fashion show, prompting William’s much-quoted comment, ‘Wow, Kate’s hot!’
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, that was the night their relationship matured from friendship into romance. Later that evening after the show they were drinking together, and reported to have been seen kissing.
She was different from the kind of girls he had dated in the past – the socially ambitious offspring of his father’s polo-playing circle – and he found her natural and unaffected ways comfortingly reassuring. When he missed a seminar she would cover by letting him copy her notes.
Meanwhile, in his uncertainty at St Andrews, William had been talking to his father and to his former housemaster at Eton, Dr Andrew Gailey, about dropping out at the end of the first year in 2002. And yet, tellingly, it was after talking to Kate about it that he made up his mind to stay.
Taking a swing at love: Prince William practises golf on the beach at St Andrews in 2003
She had also been uncertain about whether to remain at St Andrews, she told him, but on the whole thought it better to stay. She felt that having invested so much time there, it would be mad to chuck it in.
When William told her he thought his biggest mistake was his degree course, it was Kate who suggested switching to geography. Which he did.
Not even when Kate and William, together with two others, shared a flat in their second year – in aptly named Hope Street – did anyone think they were an item.
The foursome were William, his Eton chum Fergus Boyd – a godfather to Prince George – Army officer’s daughter Olivia Bleasdale, and Kate. William had asked Kate to join the group.
Over the next three university years their relationship deepened. One of their circle, Michael Choong, who played rugby with William and is these days a property developer in Scotland, recalls, ‘They never showed any affection in public. Kate was good for him.
‘She was very loyal and did not gossip. William was naturally gregarious – he’d always get a round of beers in at the pub – but Kate was less so and hated having her picture taken.’
Young romance: Kate Middleton and her father Michael leave a shop in St Andrews in 2005
As university flatmates, no one saw anything special about William being one of the guests at Kate’s 21st birthday party, a 1920s-themed extravaganza with flapper girls and the Charleston. William arrived a bit late.
That was the moment he was first introduced to Carole and Michael Middleton. And Kate would attend William’s Out Of Africa 21st birthday party at Windsor Castle.
Significantly, however, he had already had her as a guest at Wood Farm, the royals’ favourite bolthole on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
When the prince gave an interview marking his coming of age, he was evasive about his love life. ‘There’s been a lot of speculation about every single girl I’m with,’ he said. ‘It’s a pain for the girls.’
But he couldn’t keep Kate a secret forever, try as he might. Skiing in the Swiss resort of Klosters with his father, he agreed to a photocall on the understanding the photographers would leave him alone afterwards.
None of the media there knew Kate was present too. Photocall over, she joined him at the ski lift and – flash, flash, flash – suddenly the world knew Diana’s boy was in love. Kate’s life would never be the same again.
Royally good fun: Prince William at his graduation from St Andrews University in June 2005
Proud father: Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at Prince William’s 2005 graduation
Granny was there, too! The Queen attended her grandson Prince William’s 2005 graduation
By now they were in their third year at St Andrews, and installed in a comfortable farmhouse on the nearby 400-acre Strathtyrum estate. Not alone, of course. Two other discreet chums joined them, Alasdair Coutts-Wood and Oli Baker.
Here Kate’s natural home-making skills were allowed to flourish – she ran up some new gingham curtains. There in the kitchen was her dream – an Aga cooker – and not only that, in the baronial dining room was a table that could seat 18. More dinner parties followed.
Even so, William was beginning to show the first signs of unease at being tied down so young. It was a constant in his mind in the early years of the relationship. They agreed to spend the summer break apart.
He slipped away to America, flying to Tennessee to join the family of an old (and platonic) friend, Anna Sloan, a department store heiress who was at Edinburgh University. Kate went to the Dordogne as a guest of the family of one of their old flatmates, Fergus Boyd. One evening she disclosed that their being apart was something of a trial separation, adding, ‘I miss him.’
She didn’t have to wait too long before seeing him. At summer’s end they were back together again sharing the same house in their final year. Judged on what happened next, William had been missing her too.
The couple graduated in 2005 and five years later – after spending a summer apart – William proposed while on holiday in Kenya.
They made their engagement public in November 2010 and married the following April. The couple celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary this year.
BY RICHARD KAY and GEOFFREY LEVY. A VERSION OF THIS STORY FIRST APPEARED IN WEEKEND MAGAZINE