Prince William Meets with Afghan Refugees During Surprise Visit

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  • Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
    Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
    Duke of Cambridge
  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
    Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
    Wife of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (C) smiles as he talks with refugees evacuated from Afghanistan during a visit to a hotel in Leeds
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (C) smiles as he talks with refugees evacuated from Afghanistan during a visit to a hotel in Leeds

DANNY LAWSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Prince William

Prince William visited with refugees recently evacuated from Afghanistan to hear about their experiences as he promotes community cohesion.

The royal arrived in Leeds in the north of England on Tuesday for a surprise visit that underlines the welcoming and diverse communities in Britain who have been uniting to help others, his office at Kensington Palace said.

In September, his wife Kate Middleton met and paid tribute to some of the RAF crews who were among the service members who helped transport thousands of Afghans to the U.K. in the wake of the Taliban takeover of the country.

RELATED: How Prince William Helped Secure Safe Passage for Afghan Officer and Family

A key role for the royal family is cementing unity across the U.K. and supporting those who bring communities together. William began Tuesday visiting a hotel in Leeds, which is about 200 miles north of London, where many refugees are being temporarily housed. He wanted to see and hear firsthand about the efforts being made by local authority organizations, charities and community bodies to help them settle.

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (C) talks with refugees evacuated from Afghanistan in a playroom during a visit to a hotel in Leeds
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (C) talks with refugees evacuated from Afghanistan in a playroom during a visit to a hotel in Leeds

DANNY LAWSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Prince William

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During his visit, he watched a group of children play as he was also told about the donations of clothes and essentials that have been made by the local community to provide much-needed support.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge with refugees evacuated from Afghanistan during a visit to a hotel in Leeds
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge with refugees evacuated from Afghanistan during a visit to a hotel in Leeds

DANNY LAWSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Prince William

It also gave him a chance to speak with refugees — some who recently arrived and others who have been in the U.K. for several years — and learn about their experiences and hear about the challenges they've faced as they rebuild their lives in the U.K.

Later in the day, William visited CATCH, a nearby youth-led charity that provides a range of opportunities for sports, creativity and learning, as well as for volunteering and social action projects.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge plays table tennis during his visit to CATCH
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge plays table tennis during his visit to CATCH

Phil Noble - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The center provides various recreational activities and spaces for its young members as an alternative to being drawn into criminal behaviors. They take part in ping-pong tournaments, computer games, movie nights, sports activities and more. There's also a community café that is open to the public and staffed by volunteers, and around a dozen pet goats are kept on-site and cared for by the members.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (C) speaks with children during his visit to CATCH
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (C) speaks with children during his visit to CATCH

PHIL NOBLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

CATCH also provides a weekly activity session for children evacuated from Afghanistan. These sessions provide a chance for young refugees to socialize and integrate, as well as develop their language skills, in a relaxed, fun setting. It's also an opportunity for CATCH volunteers to learn about different cultures and for everyone to make new friends.

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