Prince Andrew pays ‘surprise’ visit to Hackney students

The Duke of York surprised apprentice chefs yesterday (Monday) when he dropped into the kitchens at Hackney Community College for a royal visit.

The catering, business, and hospitality students were aware they were due to meet a special guest, but had no idea they would be chatting with Prince Andrew about their work.

The prince visited the Shoreditch campus, in Falkirk Street, during a tour of the Tech City area.

The trip was part of his work to promote UK businesses, although he no longer has a formal role as a ‘special representative’ for the government’s UK Trade and Investment department.

Hackney Community College works with Tech City employers to offer apprenticeships to students, and is set to launch a new University Technical College at the campus next year, which will offer specialist digital media courses.

The college’s principal, Ian Ashman, said: “We’re really fortunate to be based right in the heart of Tech City.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time for Hackney and we’re pleased that His Royal Highness took the time to visit Hackney Community College, learn about our University Technical College, our Tech City Apprentice Programme and share our apprentices’ experiences.”

Most Read

While he was in Shoreditch, the prince also attended the official opening of The Trampery, a work space and events venue, in Bevenden Street. The company was launched in 2009, but moved to its new premises in May this year, and is now home to more than a dozen technology start-ups.

Prince Andrew told staff: “It gives me great pleasure to meet with you, to learn about what you are doing, and to say that of all the things I have been doing over the last 10 years or so, in terms of business this is probably some of the most exciting I have seen.”

The Trampery’s founder and director, Charles Armstrong, said it was an “honour” to meet the prince.

He added: “This visit is a real recognition of the talent and dynamism of the area, and we are grateful for the support he is showing to London’s start-up community.”