Prince William revealed Princess Charlotte‘s favourite joke this morning during a surprise school visit on a day of engagements in the West Midlands. 

The future King dropped in on Freddie Hadley, 12, St Michael’s Church of England High School in Rowley Regis, Sandwell, after the youngster wrote to the Prince of Wales last year inviting him to see their mental health initiatives.

During the visit, the Prince joined Freddie and his classmates for a segment on the school’s radio station, where he was asked to share a ‘dad joke’.

He said: ‘I’m kind of trying to channel Jack Whitehall, because most of his jokes are pretty dad-like.’

The royal then told a knock-knock joke about ‘Interrupting Cow’ instead, saying it’s currently Princess Charlotte’s favourite, adding: ‘That’s one I hear a lot at home at the moment.’

Prince William revealed Princess Charlotte 's favourite joke this morning during a surprise school visit on a day of engagements in the West Midlands where he joined Freddie Hadley (centre) on the school's radio station

Prince William revealed Princess Charlotte 's favourite joke this morning during a surprise school visit on a day of engagements in the West Midlands where he joined Freddie Hadley (centre) on the school's radio station

Prince William revealed Princess Charlotte ‘s favourite joke this morning during a surprise school visit on a day of engagements in the West Midlands where he joined Freddie Hadley (centre) on the school’s radio station 

Prince William speaks with students during a visit to St. Michael's Church of England High School in Rowley Regis today

Prince William speaks with students during a visit to St. Michael's Church of England High School in Rowley Regis today

Prince William speaks with students during a visit to St. Michael’s Church of England High School in Rowley Regis today

William is snapped shaking hands with 12-year-old Freddie Hadley, who made the initial invitation to visit the school

William is snapped shaking hands with 12-year-old Freddie Hadley, who made the initial invitation to visit the school

William is snapped shaking hands with 12-year-old Freddie Hadley, who made the initial invitation to visit the school

During his visit, William met representatives of Student Voice and had conversations with students about mental health

During his visit, William met representatives of Student Voice and had conversations with students about mental health

During his visit, William met representatives of Student Voice and had conversations with students about mental health

Inside the school William was taken to meet the school's 'wellbeing champions' and handed a cup of 'positivity-tea'

Inside the school William was taken to meet the school's 'wellbeing champions' and handed a cup of 'positivity-tea'

Inside the school William was taken to meet the school’s ‘wellbeing champions’ and handed a cup of ‘positivity-tea’

In a punchline some may have predicted, as the others around the table tried to ask: ‘Interrupting Cow who?’ the royal let out an abrupt ‘moo’.

As some laughed and some groaned at the quip, William insisted it was the best joke he could think of that was ‘clean’ and ‘broadcast-able’. 

The Prince of Wales also thanked the station and the school for welcoming him – despite the fact he supports Aston Villa.

Freddie Hadley, 12, posted his letter on X, formerly Twitter, on World Mental Health Day last October telling the royal about the brilliant work he and his friends at St Michael’s Church of England High School in Rowley Regis, Sandwell, were doing.

To his delight, William personally replied, writing: ‘Good afternoon Freddie, I’m so sorry Catherine and I can’t be with you and the rest of the students at St Michael’s today. ‘Tackling mental health challenges and stigmas head on is so important, please keep up this important work. W’

Freddie’s letter clearly had a deeply moving effect on the prince, who asked his team to secretly arrange a visit to the school next time he was planning public engagements in the West Midlands.

And today he shocked the schoolboy and his classmates by arriving unannounced as the first of three engagements in the region.

It is the first time that William has undertaken what is known as a ‘royal away day’ since news of the Princess of Wales’ cancer diagnosis and treatment was publicly announced.

Freddie had no idea that the Prince was going to visit – instead he and his fellow pupils were told to prepare for a VIP guest….The Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands.

But when he saw William get out of the car, his face broke into a broad grin.

The Prince of Wales decided to tell what he said was Princess Charlotte's favourite joke at the moment

The Prince of Wales decided to tell what he said was Princess Charlotte's favourite joke at the moment

The Prince of Wales decided to tell what he said was Princess Charlotte’s favourite joke at the moment 

During his visit William joined a session with the Matrix Project which was set up to shine a spotlight on male mental health

During his visit William joined a session with the Matrix Project which was set up to shine a spotlight on male mental health

During his visit William joined a session with the Matrix Project which was set up to shine a spotlight on male mental health

The Prince of Wales surprised schoolboy Freddie Hadley, 12, as he arrived at his school in the West Midlands today

The Prince of Wales surprised schoolboy Freddie Hadley, 12, as he arrived at his school in the West Midlands today

The Prince of Wales surprised schoolboy Freddie Hadley, 12, as he arrived at his school in the West Midlands today

Prince William speaks to school children during his visit to Rowley Regis today

Prince William speaks to school children during his visit to Rowley Regis today

Prince William speaks to school children during his visit to Rowley Regis today

William spoke to children about mental health initiatives during his visit today

William spoke to children about mental health initiatives during his visit today

William spoke to children about mental health initiatives during his visit today

The Prince of Wales has arrived at a school in the West Midlands to surprise a schoolboy who previously wrote to him

The Prince of Wales has arrived at a school in the West Midlands to surprise a schoolboy who previously wrote to him

The Prince of Wales has arrived at a school in the West Midlands to surprise a schoolboy who previously wrote to him

During the visit, William revealed that when he began undertaking royal work, he never initially intended to look into mental health as his most championed cause

During the visit, William revealed that when he began undertaking royal work, he never initially intended to look into mental health as his most championed cause

During the visit, William revealed that when he began undertaking royal work, he never initially intended to look into mental health as his most championed cause

The Prince of Wales looks deep in thought as he speaks with students using the 'Talking Tables' initiative today

The Prince of Wales looks deep in thought as he speaks with students using the 'Talking Tables' initiative today

The Prince of Wales looks deep in thought as he speaks with students using the ‘Talking Tables’ initiative today

Prince William waves to crowds of royal fans as he visits a school in Sandwell today

Prince William waves to crowds of royal fans as he visits a school in Sandwell today

Prince William waves to crowds of royal fans as he visits a school in Sandwell today

‘So this is the young lad who started it all off,’ William said. ‘Very nice to see you, thank you for your letter.’

‘You’re very welcome,’ replied Freddie. ‘Did you think you would get a response, like that?’ asked William.  ‘Yes I did,’ Freddie said.

 ‘Oh you did, that’s confidence, ‘ laughed William. ‘Why did you decide to write to me?’

Freddie explained that he had been very impressed with the royal’s work on mental health issues.

The prince apologised for not being able to come when he was first invited on world Mental Health Day but said he hope he had made up for it.

Inside the building William told one member of staff: ‘ Lots of people write letters but Freddie’s was a really well written letter. I promised I would come. ‘

He added: ‘I am sorry Catherine can’t be here as well. She would have loved to [have come].’

A clip filmed outside the school showed William and Freddie deep in conversation as the future King spoke to the schoolboy about his letter.

The Prince of Wales congratulated Freddie on his initiative and told him: ‘Well done you, I’m here now.’ 

As the others in attendance chucked, he added: ‘Your letter worked. I’m sorry I couldn’t come to you in October.’ 

Later in the visit, the Prince joined Freddie and his classmates for a segment on the school’s radio station, where he was asked to share a ‘dad joke’.

The father-of-three went on to share a quip that he claimed is Princess Charlotte’s favourite.

He said: ‘I’m kind of trying to channel Jack Whitehall, because most of his jokes are pretty dad-like.’

The Prince of Wales also thanked the station and the school for welcoming him – despite the fact he supports Aston Villa. 

During the same conversation, William revealed that when he began undertaking royal work, he never initially intended to look into mental health as his most championed cause. 

William's a hit with the kids! As he said goodbye to pupils at the school, he chatted to each of them and shook hands

William's a hit with the kids! As he said goodbye to pupils at the school, he chatted to each of them and shook hands

William’s a hit with the kids! As he said goodbye to pupils at the school, he chatted to each of them and shook hands

Pupils eagerly lined up to shake hands with the Prince of Wales before he left St Michael's

Pupils eagerly lined up to shake hands with the Prince of Wales before he left St Michael's

Pupils eagerly lined up to shake hands with the Prince of Wales before he left St Michael’s

William said goodbye to the pupils of St Michael's before heading to his second engagement of the day

William said goodbye to the pupils of St Michael's before heading to his second engagement of the day

William said goodbye to the pupils of St Michael’s before heading to his second engagement of the day

It appeared William was a hit with the schoolchildren as he gave them a double wave upon leaving

It appeared William was a hit with the schoolchildren as he gave them a double wave upon leaving

It appeared William was a hit with the schoolchildren as he gave them a double wave upon leaving 

The royal, 41, said goodbye to the schoolchildren after his brief visit as he headed to his other engagements

The royal, 41, said goodbye to the schoolchildren after his brief visit as he headed to his other engagements

The royal, 41, said goodbye to the schoolchildren after his brief visit as he headed to his other engagements

A royal wave goodbye: William bid farewell to the children before getting in the car to head off for his next engagement

A royal wave goodbye: William bid farewell to the children before getting in the car to head off for his next engagement

A royal wave goodbye: William bid farewell to the children before getting in the car to head off for his next engagement

The Prince of Wales shook hands with Freddie's peers and other pupils at St Michael's, who all seemed excited to see him

The Prince of Wales shook hands with Freddie's peers and other pupils at St Michael's, who all seemed excited to see him

The Prince of Wales shook hands with Freddie’s peers and other pupils at St Michael’s, who all seemed excited to see him

The royal seemed to enjoy more jokes with the pupils as he shook hands before saying goodbye

The royal seemed to enjoy more jokes with the pupils as he shook hands before saying goodbye

The royal seemed to enjoy more jokes with the pupils as he shook hands before saying goodbye 

Some of the children who had queued up to meet Prince William appeared bashful after meeting him

Some of the children who had queued up to meet Prince William appeared bashful after meeting him

Some of the children who had queued up to meet Prince William appeared bashful after meeting him 

A sign reading: 'Am I manly enough' was up in one of the rooms at the school, suggesting the mental health initiative tackles men's wellbeing

A sign reading: 'Am I manly enough' was up in one of the rooms at the school, suggesting the mental health initiative tackles men's wellbeing

A sign reading: ‘Am I manly enough’ was up in one of the rooms at the school, suggesting the mental health initiative tackles men’s wellbeing

In keeping with the theme of the day of preserving good mental health, William sipped on a brew in a mug which read: 'Positivi-Tea'

In keeping with the theme of the day of preserving good mental health, William sipped on a brew in a mug which read: 'Positivi-Tea'

In keeping with the theme of the day of preserving good mental health, William sipped on a brew in a mug which read: ‘Positivi-Tea’

At first, he said, his interests were in depression, homelessness and addiction. 

However he explained: ‘I hadn’t really put them all together as a jigsaw… and it sort of all came together as a male mental health, or mental health, piece. 

‘My passion now has moved into male mental health because… the suicide rate in young men is just terrifying and I wanted to do something about it.’

St. Michael’s employs a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing and in May 2022 achieved a gold standard award by the Carnegie Centre of Excellent for Mental Health in Schools.

The school launched ‘Student Voice’ in 2012, consisting of up to 100 students who meet at lunchtimes, after school, in the evenings and during school periods to develop initiatives ranging from fundraising to mental health, including working with elderly members of the community.

It’s team of enthusiastic student Wellbeing Ambassadors also help design and implement a range of initiatives to support students. 

Inside the school William was taken to meet the school’s ‘wellbeing champions’ and handed a cup of ‘positivity-tea’. He cupped his hands around it and said he was glad it was still hot. 

‘I hope you’re not disappointed,’ he told the pupils who had only just discovered he was the VIP guest. ‘It could have gone either way.’

The children aged between 12 and 15 talked him through the incredible work the school has being doing around mental health, including their 21 days of kindness in order to form a a habit.

As they went round and round the table William grinned in admiration, remarking: ‘Wow, well done everyone. And you can do it all so fast. These are all things you guys have been doing? You’ve been busy.

William greets children at St Michael's Church of England High School today

William greets children at St Michael's Church of England High School today

William greets children at St Michael’s Church of England High School today

The Prince of Wales apologised that his wife Kate could not attend the visit with him

The Prince of Wales apologised that his wife Kate could not attend the visit with him

The Prince of Wales apologised that his wife Kate could not attend the visit with him 

Little Freddie, pictured, wrote to the Prince of Wales last year informing him about a mental health initiative he and his friends have set up at school

Little Freddie, pictured, wrote to the Prince of Wales last year informing him about a mental health initiative he and his friends have set up at school

Little Freddie, pictured, wrote to the Prince of Wales last year informing him about a mental health initiative he and his friends have set up at school

Freddie and William appeared instantly engaged in conversation after meeting, as the Prince has arrived to learn more about Freddie's work in mental health

Freddie and William appeared instantly engaged in conversation after meeting, as the Prince has arrived to learn more about Freddie's work in mental health

Freddie and William appeared instantly engaged in conversation after meeting, as the Prince has arrived to learn more about Freddie’s work in mental health

William looked sharp in a black suit with a black skinny tie as he arrived at the school as the first of three engagements in the West Midlands today

William looked sharp in a black suit with a black skinny tie as he arrived at the school as the first of three engagements in the West Midlands today

William looked sharp in a black suit with a black skinny tie as he arrived at the school as the first of three engagements in the West Midlands today

Hundreds of students at St. Michael's Church of England High School eagerly await the Prince

Hundreds of students at St. Michael's Church of England High School eagerly await the Prince

Hundreds of students at St. Michael’s Church of England High School eagerly await the Prince 

Prince William looked sharp in a dark suit with a blue checked shirt and a skinny black tie as he smiled upon arrival

Prince William looked sharp in a dark suit with a blue checked shirt and a skinny black tie as he smiled upon arrival

Prince William looked sharp in a dark suit with a blue checked shirt and a skinny black tie as he smiled upon arrival 

Freddie Hadley, 12, wrote to the Prince of Wales last year telling him about the initiative he and his peers have set up to help pupils manage their mental health

Freddie Hadley, 12, wrote to the Prince of Wales last year telling him about the initiative he and his peers have set up to help pupils manage their mental health

Freddie Hadley, 12, wrote to the Prince of Wales last year telling him about the initiative he and his peers have set up to help pupils manage their mental health

‘What’s been the biggest challenge? ‘ The pupils told him they had been determined to foster a sense of positivity. ‘We try to overcome the bumps in the road,’ the Prince was told. 

‘And what does mental health mean to you guys?’ William asked. ‘Does it get a good reaction now? Do people still feel a bit shy? ‘

‘It’s the feeling you have about yourself,’ another pupil told him, ‘You chose your own label.’

During his visit, William met representatives of Student Voice and joined a session with the Matrix Project, which was set up to shine a spotlight on male mental health and sees boys aged 11-14 meet weekly to develop ideas and projects to tackle mental health challenges.

The group launched its #AmIManlyEnough campaign last year to tackle the stigma aroundmale mental health and encourage men and boys to communicate more about their feelings.

After initially sending his apologies for not being able to visit Freddie and his classmates, William gave St Michael's school a wave today ahead of his arrival

After initially sending his apologies for not being able to visit Freddie and his classmates, William gave St Michael's school a wave today ahead of his arrival

After initially sending his apologies for not being able to visit Freddie and his classmates, William gave St Michael’s school a wave today ahead of his arrival

He also joined a workshop with a larger group of students who were discussing a range of issues related to mental health and wellbeing, including designing their own calm kits and their dream wellbeing hub.

In his letter to William last year Freddie neatly wrote that he and his friends had set up #AMIMANLYENOUGH? with the aim of tackling the stigma that ‘girls cry and boys get mad’.

‘Through our work we discovered that suicide is the biggest killer in young males and this won’t change unless people start the conversation,’ he wrote, with extraordinary maturity.

‘Our passion for mental health has given us opportunities to organise and lead community events, present at national conferences, take part in radio interviews and even gain celebrity endorsement.’

He invited the heir to the throne to join the ‘soft launch’ of their campaign on World Mental Health Day as their VIP guest.

And while William had to regretfully decline on that occasion, he made his mind up to go and see their work in action at some point in the near future.

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