Last pre-wedding engagement for William and Kate

Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:26pm EDT
 
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By Phil Noble

DARWEN, England (Reuters Life!) - A large crowd of well-wishers braved a downpour in northern England on Monday to cheer Prince William and Kate Middleton as they took part in their final official engagement before their wedding.

The trip was expected to be one of the last occasions that William, second in line to the British throne, and Middleton will be seen in public before April 29th when they marry at London's Westminster Abbey.

Heavy rain failed to dampen the enthusiasm of onlookers as Middleton, wearing a navy-colored jacket and skirt, and William arrived smiling at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy school in northwest England.

The couple were due to officially open the school and launch the "SkillForce Prince's Award," an honor to reward young people who contribute to their local community.

"I know that I am very fortunate. I have the support of my family and friends, I do a job I enjoy... and I have Catherine," William said in a speech at the school.

"But I have learnt through working with some truly inspiring charities -- none more so than SkillForce -- that these things can never be taken for granted."

Later they visited a local country park as part of an initiative to protect more than 2,000 outdoor areas across Britain and encourage recreational activities.

As well as watching a number of sporting displays, William met youngsters taking part in a soccer skills programme involving Premiership side Blackburn Rovers.   Continued...

 
<p>Britain's Prince William speaks, watched by his fiancee Kate Middleton at the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA), in Darwen, northern England April 11, 2011. A large crowd of well-wishers braved a downpour in northern England on Monday to cheer Prince William and Kate Middleton as they took part in their final official engagement before their wedding. REUTERS/Adrian Dennis/Pool</p>