Stroke of luck leads to Longbenton boy, three, and his parents meeting Prince William

Max O'Connell, three, with Prince William
Max O'Connell, three, with Prince William -Credit:Terry Blackburn

A stroke of luck led to a three-year-old boy and his parents meeting the future king.

Allen O'Connell, 31, his wife Lauren, 32, and their son Max were travelling from the Quayside in Newcastle back to their home in Longbenton on Tuesday afternoon.

They decided to stop their car to see what was happening after spotting some royal flags near Westgate Road. To their surprise, they were told that Prince William was due to arrive in the area.

The Prince of Wales was visiting Summerhill Street to officially open James' Place Newcastle, a suicide prevention centre for men.

They decided to wait on Prince William arriving and couldn't believe it when he took the time to chat to Max. Dad-of-five Allen said: "He was absolutely fantastic. He got out of the car and walked straight across to speak to the kids.

"They were trying to usher him away but he saw Max and he came over. He was brilliant. He came down to his level, he wasn't just talking to him looking down.

"When he spoke to Max he was talking about how he liked Spiderman and asked him what football team he supports. He told Max he supports Aston Villa.

"We weren't dressed the part - Max had a Spiderman jacket on. Prince William said 'My kids sometimes watch Spiderman'. They are just normal people really, his kids especially. They're in this life but they are still going to like the same things.

Prince William shakes Max's hand
Prince William shakes Max's hand -Credit:Chronicle Live

"Max was shouting 'bye, bye' and he turned and waved and said 'bye'. He's taken the photo off to school to show his teachers!

"I don't think he quite understood who it was but he will eventually. In years to come he'll be able to look back at it. He's going to be the king for most of Max's life.

"I have got a seven-year-old daughter and a five-year-old daughter who know exactly who it was. They were proper shocked. My eldest was like 'What you have met Prince William from the Royal Family? Why couldn't I come?' I said 'I didn't know it was happening!'

Allen, who owns AM Memorabilia, said his dad was in the military for 30 years and his family are all royalists.

He said they had been for a meal at the Weatherspoon pub on the Quayside and were travelling up the West Road hill, on their way home, when they saw the royal flags.

A number of people were waiting outside of James' Place for Prince William to arrive. Two women at the scene, Maria Scott, 53, from Rowlands Gill, and Julie Cain, 60, from Byker, were draped in royal flags.

Allen said: "We were driving past and I could see people standing there with royal flags. You could tell there was security. I stopped to see what was happening and we were told that it was Prince William.

"We were waiting about half an hour to 45 minutes, it was definitely worth the wait. I was quite surprised he came straight over as there were a lot of people saying he was late.

"I run a memorabilia company and I do go around meeting famous people but that was different. I have never been so close to anyone from the Royal Family before. It was a surreal moment to see him up close and get to speak to him. I didn't think he would be as talkative.

"Up here we don't speak very posh. I said 'Are you alright Your Highness?' and he smiled. He was lovely.

"I asked him 'Do you think Aston Villa's going to be in the Champion's League this season?' He said 'I hope so, I hope so'. I said 'I hope so too. I don't like Aston Villa but it's good to it's not the usual teams'.

"I asked him 'How is Harry?' and he said 'Harry's fine'.

"He made sure he took the time to speak to the kids that were waiting, that's the most important thing. I think it was really nice to take the time to come over at the start, even though he was late, to save the kids waiting longer."