Duke and Duchess of Cambridge drive a tractor as they carry out visits with sweet wedding link

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·7-min read

Watch: William and Kate drive tractor on farm visit in County Durham

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took it in turns to hop behind the wheel of a tractor as they carried out a visit to a sustainable farm in Darlington.

William and Kate have been on engagements in the north of England in the lead-up to their 10th wedding anniversary, and paid a visit to a sustainable farm in County Durham where they met fifth-generation owners Clare Wise and Stewart Chapman.

In the afternoon, they travelled onto the Cheesy Waffles Project, which is run by The Key, a charity which received a donation from the royal couple when they were married in April 2011. 

The couple were out of their black clothes, as royal mourning formally ended on 22 April, the day before their youngest son Louis' third birthday.

Kate wore a Fair Isle jumper, last seen during the couple's royal train tour of the UK in December and her favourite brown boots, which she has owned for around 17 years.

William was in a padded coat, navy blue chinos, and sturdy boots.

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, react during a visit to Manor Farm in Little Stainton, near Durham, north east England on April 27, 2021. (Photo by Owen Humphreys / POOL / AFP) (Photo by OWEN HUMPHREYS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Kate and William took on engagements in the north of England on Tuesday. (Owen Humphreys/AFP)
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, react during a visit to Manor Farm in Little Stainton, near Durham, north east England on April 27, 2021. (Photo by Owen Humphreys / POOL / AFP) (Photo by OWEN HUMPHREYS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William and Kate were all smiles as they toured the sustainable farm in Darlington. (Owen Humphreys/AFP)
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (R) watches as his wife Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge walks with nine-year-old Clover (2L), a daughter of farmer Stewart Chapman and his wife Clare Wise, with a lamb during a visit to Manor Farm in Little Stainton, near Durham, north east England on April 27, 2021. (Photo by Owen Humphreys / POOL / AFP) (Photo by OWEN HUMPHREYS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William and Kate with nine-year-old Clover, a daughter of farmer Stewart Chapman and his wife Clare Wise, with one of their lambs. (Owen Humphreys/AFP)

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As the royals tried out the tractor, Chapman sat in the cab giving instruction, with the duke and duchess taking it in turns to operate the vehicle.

The duke, 38, went first, after waiting on the sidelines last week when his wife tried out a helicopter simulator during a trip to the Air Cadets in London.

But Kate, 39, tried out the tractor after her husband. The vehicle was set to follow a pre-planned GPS route.

Chapman, 51, who accompanied the masked royals on the tractor, said: "They both wanted a go and didn’t need any persuasion.

"Once they got used it, it was fine."

The couple's trip to the north of England was their first in-person engagement outside of London since their royal train tour in December.

Although they travelled to their home in Norfolk before Christmas, and then remained there for some of the lockdown in January, they only carried out virtual and video engagements.

Farmer Stewart Chapman (R) gives the Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, instructions on how to drive a tractor during a visit to Manor Farm in Little Stainton, near Durham, north east England on April 27, 2021. (Photo by Owen Humphreys / POOL / AFP) (Photo by OWEN HUMPHREYS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Farmer Stewart Chapman gives Prince William instructions on how to drive a tractor during a visit to Manor Farm. (Owen Humphreys/AFP)
Farmer Stewart Chapman gives Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, instructions on how to drive a tractor during a visit to Manor Farm in Little Stainton, near Durham, north east England on April 27, 2021. (Photo by Owen Humphreys / POOL / AFP) (Photo by OWEN HUMPHREYS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
After William, it was Kate's turn to give the tractor driving a go. (Owen Humphreys/AFP)
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, react during a visit to Manor Farm in Little Stainton, near Durham, north east England on April 27, 2021. (Photo by Owen Humphreys / POOL / AFP) (Photo by OWEN HUMPHREYS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William and Kate looked casual in their country outfits on the engagement. (Owen Humphreys/AFP)

William and Kate's trip was to Manor Farm, Little Stainton, near Darlington, and came two days before their wedding anniversary.

On the trip they also met nine-year-old Clover Chapman, one of the farmer's daughters, and handled some of the new lambs, named Dumbledore and Heather.

She said afterwards: "It was very exciting, but it was also quite nerve-wracking.

“She (Kate) asked me about when my friends came over, were they surprised at how well I train the lambs.”

Also with Clover were her sisters Penelope, seven and Wren, four. 

Watch: William and Kate have a go at golf during charity visit

They spoke to the farming family and other local farmers about their experiences of the past year, including how they balanced home-schooling with farm work, and how the pandemic impacted their mental health.

William said: “Home-schooling must be difficult. Home-schooling and farming is another level.”

He added: “The pandemic takes away your coping mechanisms. We all have ways getting through the days. When you strip that away and are at home all the time, it starts to wear on people.”

Wise said after the visit: "It’s been lovely, as they are role models for our three children.

"They are very knowledgeable about farming and had a beneficial discussion on both sides."

William is set to inherit the Duchy of Cornwall when his father becomes King, and has already been joining many meetings with the organisation, which includes plenty of farmland.

Read more: Two towns and a coastline: The corner of Britain Prince William will inherit when the Queen dies

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge talks with nine-year-old Clover Chapman, the daughter of farmer Stewart Chapman, as she strokes a lamb during a visit to Manor Farm in Little Stainton, near Durham, north east England on April 27, 2021. (Photo by Owen Humphreys / POOL / AFP) (Photo by OWEN HUMPHREYS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Kate spoke to nine-year-old Clover Chapman, the daughter of farmer Stewart Chapman. (Owen Humphreys/AFP)
DARLINGTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 27:  Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge strokes a lamb with farmers daughter Clover Chapman, 9, during their visit to Manor Farm in Little Stainton, Durham on April 27, 2021 in Darlington, England. (Photo by Owen Humphreys - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The couple were out in person outside of London for the first time since December 2020. (Owen Humphreys - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

After their trip to the farm, the royals went to the Cheesy Waffles Project, which supports children, young people and adults with additional needs aged seven to 35, helping them to gain skills and independence for adulthood.

It is run by The Key, which used to be called Keyfund, and is one of the 26 charities chosen by the duke and duchess in 2011 to benefit from donations made to their Royal Wedding Charitable Gift Fund.

More than £1m was raised and The Key received £33,000. 

William spoke to Evan Jones, 18, and Lee Middleton, 23, about their Duke of Edinburgh gold awards, and mentioned his late grandfather as they chatted.

Read more: Queen makes first public appearance since funeral of 'beloved' Prince Philip

The Duchess of Cambridge laughs as she plays golf during a visit to the Cheesy Waffles Project at the Belmont Community Centre in Durham. Picture date: Tuesday April 27, 2021.
Kate laughed at her own efforts during the golf activity at the centre in Durham. (PA Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge elbow bumping during a visit to the Cheesy Waffles Project at the Belmont Community Centre in Durham. Picture date: Tuesday April 27, 2021.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge elbow bumping during a visit to the Cheesy Waffles Project at the Belmont Community Centre in Durham. (PA Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to the Cheesy Waffles Project at the Belmont Community Centre in Durham. Picture date: Tuesday April 27, 2021.
The couple were in good spirits during the second visit of the day, which the duchess had changed for. (PA Images)

He asked them: "Do you know he was my grandfather?

"Sadly he died a few weeks ago. He would have been so pleased that you got your awards."

Kate and William both tried golf outside with Kate left laughing at her own efforts.

She changed her coat between engagements, swapping her wax jacket for a navy padded coat.

Tom Crosby, David Hamilton, Sam Peaden and Alumbeni Makwaela-Wali told the royals about organising Christmas trees, an inflatable snowman and a snow machine for a socially-distanced community elf trail for elderly people nearby during the festive season.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge play golf during a visit to the Cheesy Waffles Project at the Belmont Community Centre in Durham. Picture date: Tuesday April 27, 2021.
William gave golf a go too as they visited the Cheesy Waffles Project. (PA Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watch a game of golf during a visit to the Cheesy Waffles Project at the Belmont Community Centre in Durham. Picture date: Tuesday April 27, 2021.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watch a game of golf during a visit to the Cheesy Waffles Project at the Belmont Community Centre in Durham. (PA Images)

Hearing about their online bingo session brought back memories for William, who recalled the efforts he and his wife made for a care home in Cardiff last year.

He said: "We did online bingo and we weren’t very good at it.

"We were bingo callers and we got told by an elderly lady some very rude words – she said we needed to try a bit harder."

CWP’s manager Erika Denholm said some of the planned activities were still on hold because of the pandemic to which William replied: "It’s that hope, that light at the end of the tunnel – everybody wants something to look forward to now."

The royals have been back to engagements since the funeral of Prince Philip, including a public appearance from the Queen, who carried out two virtual audiences on Tuesday.

Prince Charles is reportedly staying at his Welsh home.