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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 June, 2003, 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK
William overshadows his father
Tom Bourton
By Tom Bourton
BBC News Online

Prince William
Prince William spent nearly two hours at the food fair
Prince William stepped out from his father's shadow to lead his 21st birthday celebrations in north Wales.

The two princes were visiting a food fair in Angelesy as part of William's only official day of engagements to mark his birthday.

But they did not come alone. An armada of the world's media followed, as did a few hundred well-wishers from far and wide.

There was a silence as the royal party arrived, and it stayed for almost two hours as the massed throng of dignitaries and officials shifted slowly from stall to stall.

In the swelling crowds, whispered comments followed every glimpse of the princes across the hall, every ripple of laughter and every flash of camera bulbs.

William's father may be ahead of him when it comes to the succession, but there was no doubt who was fronting this particular event.

Prince William
Prince William sampled goods from most of the stalls

The young prince was relaxed as he made his way around the hall, joking and chatting with local farmers and business people, sampling their produce and gratefully receiving birthday greetings and gifts from all directions.

With a healthy dollop of small talk and a hearty willingness to get involved with the people, he seemed to leave all his fans satisfied.

He even caught the press pack out when he popped up to chat to the Anglesey youth theatre singers.

It meant men weighed down by their cameras each had to jog back to get the shots of him talking with the choir.

The choice of venue was an interesting one.

Anglesey could hardly be described as a monarchist heartland, but where better to make the point that he is taking his royal duties seriously.

As for the farmers, they were delighted at the attention.

Ieuan Wyn Jones
Departing Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones also visited the fair

William brought the spotlight of the world to an area that has had a tough time of late and is still clawing its way back from the ravages of foot-and-mouth.

And there is nothing like a long wait to build a hunger.

While the royals were saying their last goodbyes to the people lining the barriers outside, many of the crowd had their eyes on the door to the fair.

And, as soon as the royals left, the stampede began for the food hall that had been the princes' private property all morning.

In Pictures: Prince William's visit
19 Jun 03  |  Photo Gallery
Stamps mark William's 21st
17 Jun 03  |  UK
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05 Jun 03  |  Wales


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