Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne had a fond encounter with the Prince of Wales after appearing at a ready-to-eat where the royal was highlighting his homelessness campaign.
The former England midfielder was among staff and diners at the sandwich chain in Bournemouth when William came to help with his Homewards initiative.
The two shook hands as William inquired about Gascoigne, 56, who has faced mental health and addiction issues.
A beaming Gascoigne, who said he lived close to Sandbanks, replied that he was ‘much better’ before leaning in to hug the prince and plant a kiss on his cheek.
William was at the store to learn more about the company’s commitment to expanding its long-running Rising Stars program, which helps break the cycle of homelessness by providing support, training and employment. Over the next five years, the program is expected to grow by 40%, helping at least 500 people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless find employment in Pret’s stores across the UK.
Afterwards, William said it had been a “very interesting morning”.
The Prince was also visiting AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium to hear about the club’s ongoing work in the community to support those at risk of homelessness, and its commitment to expanding its Homewards projects .
The visits follow the June launch of Homewards, which aims to play a part in demonstrating that ending homelessness is possible – “making it rare, brief and unrepeated”.
Bournemouth is one of six Homewards flagship sites, with William meeting with local and national businesses who have pledged their support.
The five-year local Homewards program was created by the Royal Prince and Princess of Wales Foundation to take a transformative approach to the issue of homelessness.
Homewards will provide its six flagship locations with new spaces, tools and relationships to show what can be achieved through a collective effort focused on preventing homelessness in their regions.