Princess of Wales ‘super impressed’ after boy performs impromptu backflip at Welsh Guards parade

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The Princess of Wales said she was “super impressed” after a nine-year-old boy performed an impromptu backflip for her at the St David’s Day Welsh Guards parade.

Kate was caught by surprise when Thomas Lucas decided to pull the stunt in front of her while she was handing out symbolic leeks to commemorate the day of national celebration for Wales.

Speaking to him after the parade, she said his backflip had been “extraordinary” and that she had been “super impressed”.

She asked his parents “who he gets his back-flipping talents from” and Thomas responded that he had taught himself. 

He then explained what parkour is to a bewildered Kate, who joked “not dancing sorry – I need to learn all this lingo I’m not very good at it”. 

Kate was caught by surprise when Thomas Lucas performed an impromptu backflip Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

Speaking after the parade, his father Sergeant Gareth Lucas of the Welsh Guards said this was typical behaviour for Thomas, calling him “non-stop”.

Pointing at both of his boys, he said: “They’re both into parkour now, they go to classes every week. 

“Thomas self-taught himself backflips on YouTube – he just came home from school one day saying ‘I’ve learned to do a backflip’”.

The nine-year-old said it was “actually quite nerve-wracking because I didn’t really land it,” but added that the Princess was “impressed”.

Sergeant Gareth Lucas, his father, said Thomas self-taught himself backflips on YouTube Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

The visit marked the Prince of Wales’s first to the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards as the newly appointed Colonel of the Regiment – a position King Charles held since 1975 and that William took over in December.

He praised the “formidable group of soldiers” in the Welsh Guards and expressed his father’s “fierce pride and admiration” for them.

“I am both honoured and delighted to be standing here in front of you today as your new Colonel,” he said in a speech addressed to the assembled guardsmen and officers.

Prince of Wales’s first visit to the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards as the newly appointed Colonel of the Regiment Credit: David Hartley/Press Photos Ltd

“At the same time, I’m sorry that my father couldn’t be here with us here today to say farewell, but I know he would talk of his fierce pride and admiration for you all, and of his own sadness to be moving on from an appointment he held so dear since 1975.

“The Welsh Guards have always been a formidable group of soldiers; raised for war in 1915, then leading the way on operations ever since.”

The Princess of Wales, who attended the parade with her husband on Wednesday morning, presented symbolic leeks to the soldiers’ families.

The Royal couple went on to meet the members of the Welsh Guardsmen, as well as men and women from the Australian Army who are based in the UK to help train Ukrainian soldiers. 

In his first speech as Colonel, William called the guardsmen “key players” in the Second World War, the Falklands, Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan and said their battle honours “underpin their fighting spirit of today”.

He recalled that his memories with the Welsh Guards’ sniper platoon on Salisbury Plain are “some of my best”.

Prince William talked to troops from the 5th Royal Australian Regiment Credit: Alastair Grant/AP

William added: “Another key milestone in my life was also shared with the Welsh Guards, this time in the jungles of Belize as I received my A-Level results over the Bowman Radio.

“Many of you will know the feeling of being in the jungle; you’re incredibly hot, continuously soaking wet and with nowhere to hide from potentially horrendous results, it could have been a really bad day.

“Ultimately though, it was the camaraderie, the togetherness, and of course the banter of the Welsh Guards that got me through that period, and it’s a time I look back on fondly.”

Wearing a grey uniform that matched the Welsh Guards, William then handed out the symbolic leeks to guardsmen and officers while the Princess did the same to their families while donning a red Alexander McQueen coat – the colour from Wales’ flag.

The band then led a rendition of the Welsh national anthem, which the Princess sang in Welsh, followed by God Save the King and three cheers for the Royal couple.

Princess of Wales donned a red Alexander McQueen coat – the colour from Wales’ flag Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

Kate was presented with a bouquet of flowers from Royal fan seven-year-old Elsi-Haf Cunningham, who was wearing traditional Welsh dress, while her father took part in the parade.

Her mother, Krystal Cunningham, 59, said her daughter will remember the moment for the rest of her life. 

“It was a very proud moment, she absolutely loves the Royal family but has only ever seen Kate on TV,” she said, adding: “It was a big moment for her”.

The visit, at Combermere Barracks in Windsor, was part of a week of Wales-themed engagements for the Prince and Princess, who spent Tuesday in South Wales following a visit to Cardiff on Saturday to watch England play Wales in rugby.