Prince William hug leaves elderly man overcome with emotion

·6-min read
Prince William hugs an emotional resident, during a visit to the Wheatley Group in Glasgow, to hear about the challenges of homelessness in Scotland. (PA Images)
Prince William hugs an emotional resident during a visit to the Wheatley Group in Glasgow. (PA Images)

Prince William has been pictured warmly hugging a man overwhelmed with emotion during an official trip to Glasgow with his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge.

The royal couple have begun a two-day visit to Scotland, with engagements focusing on mental health, as part of a UK-wide tour to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee this year.

On a visit to a project operated by The Wheatley Group, the royals met vulnerable people, including those at risk of homelessness receiving help from Scotland’s leading housing management group.

During a walkabout through Kennishead, in the south side of the city, fans saw an emotional moment between Prince William and a member of the public named William Burns, 66, who opened up about his own personal challenges with homelessness.

The Duke of Cambridge gave Burns, who was in tears, a heartfelt hug.

Burns later told the Daily Mail the heartbreaking story behind the embrace, "It felt like a son hugging a father," he revealed, explaining that he was once estranged from his own child.

"It was the way he hugged me," Burns added. "I didn't expect that really to be honest. It was a boost. I've never felt anything like it in my entire life before and my existence as a human being."

The embrace was so poignant for Burns because it trigged a host of memories from his past. It emerged that the father-of-six had fallen out with one of his sons during an incident that ended up with him being evicted and left briefly with nowhere to sleep. The grandfather's life had gone off course after the tragic death of his first wife Jean, who passed away in his arms.

Read more: Why the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's titles change in Scotland

Following the touching moment royal fans shared their appreciation for the gesture on social media.

"The way that man hugs William with so much feeling as if he were his son or grandson is precious, he like many people probably saw William grow up and is proud of the man he is today, and the king he will be in the future," one fan tweeted.

"Prince William gave that elder a proper hug didn't he," another noted.

"My heart....this hug, just beautiful," another fan commented.

"It's a truly heart warming picture. The best of British!," yet another twitter user commented.

"What an emotive photograph," agreed another.

Watch: William and Kate meet Glasgow group tackling homelessness

As well as his meet with the elderly gentleman, the Cambridges – who are known as the Earl and Countess of Strathearn in Scotland – stepped into home of mother-of-four Joanne Wales, 31, and sat on sofas in her sitting room as they asked about her experiences as a tenant.

Her four-year-old son, Jason, showed the royal couple his Spider-Man and Hulk toys, and the duchess told him: “Louis, our little boy, loves Spider-Man too.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pictured during a visit to the Wheatley Group in Glasgow
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pictured during a visit to the Wheatley Group in Glasgow. (Getty Images)

Read more: Duchess of Cambridge 'thrilled' to successfully help student finish Times crossword

Joanne Wales, who has been a single parent since her partner died nearly two years ago, said she enjoyed talking to the couple.

The mother, whose children are aged between four and 12, said: “They were absolutely lovely and straight away they were talking to Jason about superheroes.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge photographed meeting members of the public in Glasgow
The couple met members of the public during the opening day of their two-day visit to Scotland. (Getty Images)

Read more: How the Duchess of Cambridge's earrings honoured the Manchester Arena victims

Homelessness has been an important aspect of William’s work. In 2009, he spent a night sleeping on the streets of London to experience what it was like to be homeless.

Later the royal couple visited the University of Glasgow where they heard how students have been supporting each other during the pandemic and the city’s community struggling to get online.

Read more: The Duchess of Cambridge just wore the summer's easiest style

The duchess was left smiling after coming to the aid of a student stumped by a crossword puzzle question about the royal family.

The couple later heard about the work that the researchers at the School of Psychology and Neuroscience have done.

Duchess of Cambridge photographed holding a young baby in Glasgow
Prince William feared his wife was getting broody after holding baby Saul Molloy on a trip to a primary school in Glasgow. (Getty Images)

Read more: Duchess of Cambridge wears £170 blouse from Samantha Cameron's label in Glasgow

Earlier the Duke of Cambridge joked about his wife becoming broody when they visited a school where she cuddled a baby, sang along with children and spoke to young pupils.

On a visit to St John’s Primary School, the duchess joined a Roots of Empathy session at the school and was seen cuddling an 18-month old baby as they learned how to build their understanding of the baby’s needs and emotions.

Read more: Duchess of Cambridge rewears Christening dress for Anzac Day service

As the couple began their visit to the school, close to the banks of the River Clyde in Inverclyde, the duke joked: “Can you get my wife out of here before she gets broody?”

By the end of it, she was holding 10-month-old Saul after his session with his mother Laura Molloy.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined in a Roots of Empathy session during a visit to St. John's Primary School in Glasgow
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined in a Roots of Empathy session during a visit to St John's Primary School in Glasgow. (Getty Images)

The Cambridges sat cross-legged on the floor and joined a session, as Saul crawled on a mat, singing nursery rhymes with the children, and they even did the hand actions to Incy Wincy Spider.

The duchess later chatted to the mother and her baby, and she briefly held Saul, who will celebrate his first birthday in June.

The royal wore a £170 silk ‘Riley’ blouse by Cefinn, the brand founded by Samantha Cameron, and added to the monochrome look with navy tailored trousers and navy suede court heels.

Additional reporting PA.