Prince William consoles distraught restaurant owner during private Zoom chat

The Duke of Cambridge has made a private Zoom call to a Liverpool restaurant owner after he spotted her crying on Channel 4 News about the devastating impact the pandemic has had on her business.

Prince William, 38, consoled Natalie Haywood, owner of the Leaf Group, in a virtual call yesterday with Liverpool DJ Yousef.

On October 9th, Haywood appeared on Channel 4 News but struggled to contain her emotions when she discussed the prospect of making her staff redundant and potentially closing her business.  

The cafe owner and DJ Yousef were invited to speak privately with the Duke of Cambridge, with both praising the Prince for spending 45 minutes chatting to them about how Liverpool’s hospitality industry has suffered badly in recent months. 

The pair revealed the royal wanted to know ‘what was going on on the ground in Liverpool’. 

Prince William revealed on his @Kensingtonroyal Twitter account that he'd Zoom called Liverpool cafe owner Natalie Haywood, top left, after she broke down on Channel 4 News on October 9th about the impact Covid is having on her business. The pair were joined by DJ Yousef, top right, during the call on Monday

Prince William revealed on his @Kensingtonroyal Twitter account that he’d Zoom called Liverpool cafe owner Natalie Haywood, top left, after she broke down on Channel 4 News on October 9th about the impact Covid is having on her business. The pair were joined by DJ Yousef, top right, during the call on Monday

Impact: Earlier this month, Natalie was seen breaking down while being interviewed by Channel 4 News as she talked about how she'd been forced to close her business for the forseeable future

Impact: Earlier this month, Natalie was seen breaking down while being interviewed by Channel 4 News as she talked about how she’d been forced to close her business for the forseeable future

The emotional interview saw Natalie in tears as she described how she feared making her staff redundant

She told the news programme 'every day we open to lose money'

The emotional interview saw Natalie in tears as she described how she feared making her staff redundant 

Last week, Haywood made the sad decision to close the flagship Leaf restaurant on Liverpool’s normally bustling Bold Street for the foreseeable future due to the latest coronavirus lockdown rules imposed on the region.

She said the decision to close the city centre restaurant was due to the dwindling number of visitors in the area due to the tier three restrictions and that if it closed, staff ‘were at least guaranteed two thirds of their wage’. 

Natalie told BBC Breakfast today she had initially thought the request was a hoax. 

She said: ‘We got a phone call out of the blue last Friday and it was a request that we join the Duke for a call yesterday.

‘Obviously I was completely shocked and initially thought it was a hoax really. And I was completely floored and so amazed that he could give us his time to listen to what is going on on the ground in Liverpool.

‘He spent 45 minutes talking to us on a private Zoom yesterday.’

Today, Natalie tweeted: 'Amidst all of the doom & gloom it was amazing to have the opportunity to speak to the Duke of Cambridge today about the challenges facing the hospitality industry in Merseyside'

Today, Natalie tweeted: ‘Amidst all of the doom & gloom it was amazing to have the opportunity to speak to the Duke of Cambridge today about the challenges facing the hospitality industry in Merseyside’

Natalie followed up the interview by sharing her thanks to the Duke on Twitter, writing: ‘Amidst all of the doom and gloom it was amazing to have the opportunity to speak to the Duke of Cambridge @KensingtonRoyal today about the challenges facing the hospitality industry in Merseyside at the moment.

‘Thanks to the Duke for listening, it means a lot.’

Yousef, a popular DJ in Liverpool who has been vocal about the pandemic’s effects on the live events industry, was also invited to speak with the Duke.

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘He was asking questions essentially about our situation in Liverpool and the difficulties that we’ve been experiencing since the beginning of lockdown.

‘He was just calm, compassionate and he asked really poignant questions, he didn’t want anything to be filtered.

‘He wanted to know the real situation and I have to say he was a lovely guy and particularly with myself and a lot of other people trying to kind of bring attention on to what’s been happening across the events industry, to have someone of his status to even give us his time was quite something.’

Kate Middleton, 38, appeared effortlessly elegant today as she was joined by Prince William, 38, to launch her lockdown photography exhibition by meeting one of subjects

Kate Middleton, 38, appeared effortlessly elegant today as she was joined by Prince William, 38, to launch her lockdown photography exhibition by meeting one of subjects

The Duke and Duchess sat side-by-side on a bench within the hospital grounds as they heard from Sotiris about the work the hospital staff have undertaken throughout the pandemic

The Duke and Duchess sat side-by-side on a bench within the hospital grounds as they heard from Sotiris about the work the hospital staff have undertaken throughout the pandemic 

He said afterwards on Instagram: ‘He was cool, down to earth and nice, and fun too. When I begun djing over 20 years ago, I never thought I’d be invited to speak to the future King about how to help save the rave. Crazy day.’

Earlier today, Prince William joined Kate Middleton to meet with one of the subjects from Kate’s lockdown photography competition at Waterloo Station. 

The Duchess of Cambridge, 38, launched the Hold Still community photography project in May, and invited people of all ages, from across the UK, to submit a photographic portrait which they had taken during lockdown.

The mother-of-three received more than 31,000 entries from members of the public in just six weeks and last month unveiled the top 100 images in a digital exhibition. 

Portraits from the competition have now gone on show in 80 towns, cities and areas across the UK, bringing the stories of individuals and families during lockdown back to their communities.

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