Shanghai gives William a royal welcome

Updated: 2015-03-04 07:50

By Wang Zhenghua in Shanghai(China Daily)

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Shanghai gives William a royal welcome

Britain's Prince William visits a soccer training camp at Nanyang High School in Shanghai on Tuesday. Gao Erqiang / For China Daily

Prince William received a warm welcome in Shanghai on Tuesday, on the second leg of his trip to China, the first visit by a senior British royal for almost three decades.

The 32-year-old Duke of Cambridge toured the Great Festival of Creativity, which celebrates British innovation, and watched a soccer training session of secondary school students who have been coached by Premier League-trained coaches.

He also met some of the Chinese finalists in the British Council's inaugural Education UK Alumni Awards, and leading Chinese film industry figures, as well as members of the Paddington production team.

His Shanghai visit followed a meeting with President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Monday. He is scheduled to wind up his trip in Yunnan province on Wednesday, where he will visit an elephant sanctuary and a nature reserve.

At Shanghai Nanyang High School, Prince William, second-in-line to the British throne, chatted with students training on a soccer field, posed for group photographs, and even kicked a ball that accidentally rolled toward him.

"The prince looks very kind," said Yao Jiani, a sophomore at the school.

Celebrating the importance of links between the UK and China in education and research, William hailed the great contribution that students make to the Sino-UK bilateral relationship, and the important role they play as ambassadors for UK education.

"Britain boasts some of the best universities in the world. We are truly privileged to attract the best students in the world, including those from China," William said.

The number of British students studying in China is also on the rise.

"These students, in years to come, will form a network to benefit both of our countries, sharing their experiences and ideas, and cooperating in tackling huge challenges that confront our generation," he added.

British Ambassador to China Barbara Woodward said that nearly 200,000 Chinese students attend higher education courses in the UK and they make an important contribution to the intellectual vigor of campuses throughout the UK.

"Chinese students give their friends in the UK a different perspective on both learning and cultural diversity. Chinese students are among the top of academic performers in the UK and increasingly contribute greatly to academic research and development in the UK education sector," she said.

Prince William arrived in Shanghai on Monday evening to open the Great Festival of Creativity and show his support for British businesses.

The festival shows the best of British creativity, and the role it plays in creating a competitive advantage.

More than 500 leading British companies will use the festival to reach the Chinese and global business audiences.