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Kate and Prince William make bagels as they surprise fans with secret engagement

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tried their hands at making bagels during a visit to east London.

The couple visited the famous Beigel Bake in Brick Lane as part of a day of engagements to see how communities are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

They also visited the London Bridge Jobcentre and the London Muslim Centre where they chatted to staff and volunteers about the past six months.

Kate wore a red Beulah dress and tan heels, while Wills looked smart in black trousers and a light blue blazer.

Both wore face masks in keeping with the government’s advice.

After chatting to staff at the front counter of the 24-hour bakery, which was forced to reduce its opening hours during the lockdown, Kate and Wills headed to the kitchen to help out.

They donned gloves and aprons and rolled out huge balls of dough weighing 1/4lb each – which would be turned into 30 bagels – with ease.

Complemented on her technique, Kate laughed: “Just wait until you see the aftermath! I had beginner’s luck, they are getting worse.”

Staff told them how the shop has supported the local community through food donations and deliveries.

They also admitted that business is still tough despite the easing of lockdown, especially as they have lost a lot of the Brick Lane tourist trade.

Staff cheered as the couple arrived, and William said they were “so excited” to visit the famous bakery.

The couple were slightly muffled through their masks but waved at the ladies behind the shop counter, Fiona McVeagh, 64, who has worked there for 33 years, and Dalia Urbanik, 43, who has been there for 16.

Chatting to the women, William said: “We’ve heard there are very famous beigels in here”, but admitted he had never tried one.

Eagerly looking at the delicious counter of treats, he said: “You got a bit of everything.

“Why are your beigels so good? Is it a special recipe?”

He also asked about how the supply chain had been coping to which staff replied they had mostly been find but had struggled to get their hands on sanitation products.

In the kitchen, Elias Cohen, 27, showed them how to make the treats from scratch, and the couple asked questions about the process.

After impressing with their rolling skills, Fiona joked: “You’re after my job!”

She later said: “They are pretty good, especially her. She’d clearly knows how to bake.”

The couple were handed goodie bags filled with treats before heading off, and a tearful Amnon said it was the “proudest moment of my life”.

Earlier in the day Kate and Wills visited the London Muslim Centre, where they spoke to people who are looking for work after losing their jobs due to Covid.

They heard claims that employees are using the pandemic as an excuse to shed staff.

Among the people they chatted to was Afef Ben Khaled, who lost her job in a commercial bank in May when her contract wasn’t renewed.

She has 12 years experience in asset management and banking, but has signed up to universal credit while she tries to find a new opportunity.

She told Kate and William: “I was in a commercial bank since December 2019 on a contract which was supposed to be made into a permanent contract, but because of Covid, they [her employer] didn’t commit to that, and then made me redundant.

“Things are happening, I’m getting interviews, but everything is very slow. In banking, we are also facing other uncertainties with Brexit.”

Kate asked Afef if any of her colleagues were in similar situations, to which she replied: “Another colleague of mine who was made redundant thought they [employer] are using the Covid-19 as an excuse. Sorry to be direct with you, but this is the reality.”

Kate then asked if she was just looking at banking jobs or if she had been inspired to explore other fields.

She said: “I have a Masters in Maths, and I also teach exercise classes, so I’m very open to everything. I have to be.”

The Cambridges also visited the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre in Whitechapel, where they met a team of dedicated volunteers who have been helping people in their community.

They have benefited from the National Emergencies Trust, which William is patron.

The mosque’s senior Imam Mohamed Mahoud brought up the issue of mental health – championed by the couple through their Heads together campaign – when he spoke to the royals.

The Imam, who received an OBE from William last year for services to his community, said later: “I highlighted the issue of people increasingly needing support with their mental health – the Muslim community aswell as the rest of the UK who have been horrifically affected by the pandemic in terms of losing jobs and livelihoods.”

He added that the visit by the royal couple had real importance for East London’s Muslims: “It’s an incredibly significant visit.

“The Muslim community often feel they have to do more than what is required to be recognised as part of mainstream society and their visit to the East London Mosque and Tower Hamlets borough helps us with that cause in establishing ourselves as part of the mainstream.

“It recognises our existence first of all and contributions we’ve made and the sacrifices and the pains and struggles of people, especially from the Bame (black, asian and minority ethnic) community.”

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The couple were taken to a balcony in the building complex that overlooked the mosque’s dome and minaret framed by the East London skyline.

The outside space gave the couple a chance to take off the face coverings they had worn for the visit and they chatted with Sufia Alam, manager of the Maryam Centre which support the female worshippers at the mosque.

Later William shared a lighter moment when he met fundraising officer Atikar Khan when he spotted a sweet treat among groceries that will be delivered to a local family.

He said “I noticed a bar of chocolate,” then added “for the children?”

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