The Duke of Sussex’s prospective parenting skills have been praised by the wife of Sir Clive Woodward, who said Harry will be a “fantastic” father.
Lady Jayne Woodward, whose husband was England’s coach during their 2003 Rugby World Cup winning campaign, paid tribute to the royal when they met at launch of a major youth centre in east London.
Harry gave his friend a kiss and held her hands when they first met and she presented him with a present, thought to be baby gift, but remained tight-lipped about the contents of the Paddington Bear gift bag.
After meeting the royal, she watched as the duke and Sir Clive joined a large group of youngsters playing tag rugby at the centre established by the national charity OnSide Youth Zones.
Harry launched the new facility in the London borough of Barking and Dagenham – one of three Youth Zones being launched in the capital during 2019 – and chatted privately to some of the youngsters about their experiences of knife crime.
Asked if he seemed concerned about becoming a father for the first time, Sir Clive’s wife replied: “He wasn’t showing any real nerves, I think he will be a fantastic dad. We’ve known Harry since he was about 13 and he’s a great chap.”
She added that her husband was a supporter of the OnSide Youth Zones for a number of years and they both thought it was doing great work.
As he left, he joked with Lady Jayne about her husband saying about his tag rugby “He’s so involved!” before thanking her again for the gift and hugging her.
The duke was teased about his future son or daughter when he met a group of youngsters in the music room.
One teenager asked him “I think your kid should come to the youth centre” and Harry replied “give it time, one thing at a time.”
The duke appeared emotional when he received another baby gift from 18-year-old Georgina Hart, who told him his Invictus Games had inspired her to aim for the Paralympics.
Georgina, who has cerebral palsy, presented Harry with a beautifully-wrapped silver birth certificate holder.
She said afterwards: “When we found out Prince Harry was coming me and my mum were like ‘we have got to get something for the baby’.
“It’s our way to say thank you for everything he has done – he’s actually my favourite royal.
“I was telling him the Invictus Games inspired me to try club throwing for the Paralympics.”
Donovan Augustine, 18, chaired a meeting of local young people about knife crime which Harry joined during the visit.
He said: “We told him why we thought knife crime was happening, (it’s) because of certain types of music like drill, it talks about stabbing people, doing drugs and (other) illegal things.”
The teenager said youngsters who were lacking parental guidance were susceptible to the lyrics of drill music. “They don’t really have the relationship with their parents like me and other people do,” he added.
He said: “We’re saying instead of talking about stabbing people in their lyrics why can’t they talk something positive, why can’t they talk about dropping knives and stopping crimes – that way, I guarantee you, most people in the borough would listen to them.”
He said Harry asked them who could lead this musical message, with some of the group mentioning rapper Stormzy, and the duke questioned whether drill was the sole factor behind knife crime and some of the panel highlighted violent computer games.
The duke briefly joined a boxing session and posed for a group photograph with some of the young fighters and watched as children scaled a climbing wall in the new centre which cost £6.5 million.
The charity, OnSide Youth Zones, provides open-access universal provision for more than 40,000 young people across its existing network centres from Bolton and Manchester to Wigan and Wolverhampton.
Open seven days a week and offering more than 20 activities per night, each centre provides young people with somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to.