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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 June, 2003, 23:19 GMT 00:19 UK
William's birthday visit to Wales
Prince Charles and Prince William
Prince William chose to visit Wales himself
Prince William is paying an official visit to Wales to mark his impending 21st birthday.

Thursday's trip, with his father Prince Charles, is the only official engagement to mark his coming of age on Saturday.

The pair are due to arrive by royal train at Bangor station, and then they will visit a food fair on the island of Anglesey.

Preparations for the visit had been underway for hours at the food fair before they arrived.

Local herb grower Rowena Mansfield will be presenting William with a book she has written about wild herbs of the area.

"It is very exciting," she told BBC Wales News Online.

"Will's birthday is the same as mine - but I won't be 21 again."

She hopes the event will boost the area. "The whole island is struggling, let's be honest," she said.

Ann Roberts, who produces free range eggs said: "Everybody is excited and getting ready. I think he will be surprised at the range of Welsh produce".

In the afternoon William and Charles will visit a day centre for single homeless people in Newport, south Wales.

This event is designed to give the media controlled access to William, in return for which the prince wants to be left alone to continue his student life.

Hopeless cook

On Wednesday it emerged that William himself chose to visit Wales as part of his birthday celebrations.

A spokeswoman for St James's Palace said it was fitting, as William will one day become Prince of Wales.

She added: "He wanted to highlight the importance of two issues - rural communities and the homeless."

During his visit to the Anglesey food fair William, a self-confessed hopeless cook, will see local produce and cookery demonstrations.

At the homeless project - Newport Action for Single Homeless - William and Charles will be introduced to clients and staff.

Prince William
Prince William has hinted he will play a role in Welsh life

William visited a centre for the homeless with his mother when she was alive.

Pottery rooms

The princes will have the chance to see the project's work and its computer, art and pottery rooms.

Earlier this week, the project prepared for William's visit by helping launch a set of Royal Mail stamps to mark his birthday.

Staff at the centre were given a preview of the four stamps, which are expected to be very popular.

"We expect these striking images of Prince William will have worldwide appeal with both the public and collectors alike," said Paul Kelly, Royal Mail area manager for south Wales.

William is currently two years through a history of art degree at St Andrews University in Scotland.

There is speculation that after finishing his course William will spend six months learning Welsh at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, as his father did in the 1960s.


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The BBC's Richard Wells
"He spent several minutes talking to various people"



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