William and Kate walk in Gavin and Stacey's footsteps during Barry Island visit
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge followed in the footsteps of Gavin and Stacey when they visited a Welsh seafront now a pilgrimage site for the show’s fans.
William and Kate toured the haunts of the comedy drama’s characters – an arcade and cafe on Barry Island – but the duke confessed to never having seen the popular series.
The couple got into the holiday spirit when they visited Island Leisure amusement arcade – the iconic setting for “Nessa’s Slots” where Ruth Jones’s character Nessa worked for a period.
At one moment Kate was giving a double thumbs up and crying out “yes” when her prize came closer as she played the infamous crane game.
But a second later the soft toy fell from the clutches of the claw and she turned to William in disappointment but with a smile still on her face.
The royals also hurled balls at the Down the Clown coconut shy-style game after paying one pound a go, and they found the chair used by Nessa, surrounded by Gavin And Stacey merchandise.
William and Kate were given a tour by owners Hilary and Andrew Phillips before they reopened the attraction, for the first time since lockdown, later in the day.
The visit to Barry Island has come as businesses in Wales have started to welcome the public as lockdown measures have started to ease, and the couple heard from local firms about the impact of Covid-19 on the tourism sector.
Actress Joanna Page’s character Stacey has worked in Marco’s cafe and the duke and duchess met Marco Zeraschi whose family have owned the eatery since 1958.
After walking in William confessed: “It’s one of the few boxsets I haven’t already watched. I’ve never actually watched it.
“But I know how much it has done for the economy here and it’s a wonderful series.”
Although the visit was kept secret to avoid crowds, hundreds of holidaymakers flocked to the barricades and waved to the couple and they stopped at a distance to speak to well-wishers.
Mr Zeraschi said after the visit: “I told them we have James Corden as prince and Ruth Jones as princess of Barry Island but said I have changed my mind now. They were very charming.”
Neither Kate, dressed in a long-sleeved floral maxi dress, nor William wore masks, in line with local guidance, a Kensington Palace spokesman said.
The palace later retweeted a message in the voice of Nessa sent by Tidy Productions, the production company behind the hit show and co-owned by Jones.
It said: “Got called out today on a lifeboat shout. Thankfully these two were on staycation down Barry island and offered to take over my shift up the slots. (Bryn was beside himself.) Cheers your HRHs – I appreciates it. Tidy.”
Later, the couple travelled to Shire Hall Care Home in Cardiff where a few months earlier they had made a virtual visit and acted as bingo callers for the residents’ weekly session.
At the time, Joan Drew-Smith, 87, made headlines when she said the royal bingo game “wasn’t as good as it should have been”.
And when the duke introduced himself during a visit to the Cardiff home by saying: “Hello Joan, do you remember we did the bingo with you? You said we weren’t very good!”
She replied: “Yes, you did a bloody shitty job.”
The royal couple, briefly taken aback by her blunt assessment, roared with laughter.