‘He would be friendly at the pub’: ‘Down to earth’ Prince William spotted selling The Big Issue in Victoria

“If you were in the pub with him on a Friday night he would be friendly, good to talk and pleasant.”
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Prince William was “down to earth” when he sold The Big Issue in Victoria, a happy punter who met the Royal said.

Witnesses told of their joy about seeing the Duke of Cambridge selling the magazine for £3 for around 20 minutes from 2.30pm on Rochester Row, in Westminster.

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People mobbed him for selfies but some people did not recognise him as he was so well-camouflaged without security guards.

Jan Begala, 34, a building manager at nearby 33 Greycoat Street managed to get a selfie with the Prince.

Jan Begala, 34, right, bagged a selfie with Prince William while he was selling the Big Issue. Credit: Jan Begala / SWNSJan Begala, 34, right, bagged a selfie with Prince William while he was selling the Big Issue. Credit: Jan Begala / SWNS
Jan Begala, 34, right, bagged a selfie with Prince William while he was selling the Big Issue. Credit: Jan Begala / SWNS

He said: “He was there with one other person selling the Big Issue for £3.

“He had a few of them in his hand and was giving them to people. He was trying to explain to people what it was about but obviously people got a bit excited.

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“He was talking quite intensively with people and people were taking pictures with him.

“I took a picture with him on my mobile phone. We had a friendly chat for about 10 seconds.

“Some people didn’t recognise him but I recognised him straight away.

“I worked in security for events during the Platinum Jubilee events so I knew exactly what he was like.

“He was here for about 15 minutes.”

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A local caretaker a who did not want to be named said: “He was very, very warm and much better looking than he is on TV.

“Many years ago I saw him outside an Italian barbers and yesterday I told him I had seen him and he said ‘yes I had hair in those days’.

“He cheered the neighbourhood up and was very, very warm- he is a lovely person.

“If you were in the pub with him on a Friday night he would be friendly, good to talk and pleasant.

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“The word got around that Prince William was selling the Big Issue. He was there with one other Big Issue seller. He was very nice.

“There were no police, I am sure they must have been hiding somewhere on the roof.

“I was on the other side of the road to him, I waved over to him and bearing in mind one day he will be King, he didn’t wait for us to go to him, he crossed over like he’s seen us.

Mafalda Fortunato, 32, a receptionist at The Dentist Gallery, regrets missing a brush with fame she may never see again in her life.

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She said: “I didn’t recognise him. I saw people outside taking pictures and everything but I only found out it was him this morning.

“I was quite disappointed because it is a once in a lifetime thing.

“I was told after that it was about homeless people. It is good someone is caring for them, especially someone from the monarchy.

“Of course it is important for someone from the monarchy to be seen to be noticed but he was actually quite human.”

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Martin Brooks, 39, a store manager at a Sainsburys opposite said: “He just came with some people to sell the Big Issue across the road.

“I recognised him and it was obvious it was him. Everyone knows who Prince William is.

‘’Some people were laughing and joking with him and I didn’t see any security with him.

“I know that he promotes homelessness issues and is trying to raise awareness of that. What he was doing is commendable.’’

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A Sainsburys cashier who did not want to be named said: “There was a crowd but because I could not see any security I did not recognise that it was him until a customer came in and said ‘did you see that?’ and we said ‘what?’

“They said ‘’it is Prince William outside’’ and I said ‘really?’

“He was dressed casually in jeans and a red hat with a Big Issue cover on it. He was holding on to the Big Issue and trying to sell it.

“He was smiling and he was so friendly. The big thing was that he came to from his royalty to help people.

“He is just down to earth and he appreciates all kinds of work.”

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