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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 June, 2003, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
Bilingual birthday song for William
Prince William
William has an early 21st birthday cake at the Anglesey food fair
Prince William has been welcomed to Wales with bilingual renditions of Happy Birthday.

The two-language version, called Penblwydd Hapus in Welsh, kicked off his visits to first Bangor and then Anglesey as he began his official tour to mark his 21st birthday on Saturday.

Hundreds of fans gathered at Bangor train station to greet him and Prince Charles on their arrival in Wales at around 1000 BST - on a train called Prince William.

On the platform, children from Ysgol Hirael, Ysgol Llandygai, Ysgol Cae Top and Our Lady's primary schools launched in to the musical birthday greeting.

Amid tight security, the royal pair emerged to greet the crowd of around 300 which had gathered outside.

Prince William
A wave for Wales as Prince William arrives at Bangor

Colin Edwards from Ruthin had arrived at 0730 BST and managed to give William a gift to celebrate his 21st birthday on Saturday.

He said: "I gave him a miniature bottle of champagne and had a lovely chat with him."

"I have met him five times before, since he was a little boy. He's great - very down to earth. Diana would be very proud of him.

"I also gave him a picture of myself with the Queen Mother, which I'm sure he would like to have."

Both Charles and William walked over to a crowd of pupils from St Gerard's School in Bangor who were waving both the Welsh and British flags.

Teleri Jones, 13, said: "I am a big fan. I shook their hands and they said hello.

"I noticed that William's hands are very soft, while Prince Charles' are hard!"

Prince William
Prince William met hundreds of well-wishers at the food fair

Pensioner Marie Wilcox, who waited two-and-a-half hours to see him, said: "It's the first time I've seen Prince William and he is so like his mother, unbelievably like her.

"He has a gentle demeanour and was very personable, looking you straight in the face as he spoke to you."

At the Anglesey showground, where William toured a food fair, performers from the Anglesey Youth Theatre, aged 14-22, again delivered a bilingual birthday welcome.

The two princes walked round the hall with its 28 stalls of local produce offering an array of goodies - everything from Welsh cakes and beer to black beef and sea salt.

He chatted to the stallholders, many of whom saw the event as an important boost for an area hard hit by recent crises in the farming industry.

Bess Evans, who makes a range of home-made cakes said: "It went quite well, better than I expected. He spoke more than I did. He was very interested. Fair play.

Prince William in Bangor
Prince William greets well-wishers in Bangor

Ieuan Williams, aged 14, was one of the singers who performed for the two princes.

He said: "It is good to see him touring the country to see all his people, to make sure everyone know he does care."

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

Local herb grower Rowena Mansfield said: "Will's birthday is the same as mine, but I won't be 21 again."

She presented him with a book she has written about wild herbs of the area - and he tried some of her nettle tea.

She said: "It was brilliant, he accepted the book and tried the ointments.

"Both were interested in the herbs. William was asking a lot of questions about me and where I had lived."

Learning Welsh

William and Charles then visited a day centre for single homeless people in Newport, south Wales.

The event was 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.

William is two years into 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.

The BBC's Nicholas Witchell
"He is showing today that he has the natural instinct to step on to the public stage and impress"

William overshadows his father
19 Jun 03  |  Wales

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