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Prince William Is All Smiles as He Steps Out amid Kate Middleton Photo Controversy

Prince William Is All Smiles as He Steps Out amid Kate Middleton Photo Controversy

The Prince of Wales opened a youth center in London on Thursday as he sought to move on from the Mother's Day photo furor

<p>Frank Augstein - WPA Pool/Getty Images</p> Prince William cheers at the WEST youth zone on March 14, 2024

Frank Augstein - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince William cheers at the WEST youth zone on March 14, 2024

Prince William is outwardly keeping calm and carrying on with royal duties amid the controversy over the Mother's Day image shared by his wife, Kate Middleton.

On Thursday, the Prince of Wales, 41, opened a new youth zone called WEST in Hammersmith, west London, to highlight how sporting activity can help young people thrive.

The facility is run by OnSide, an organization that both Prince William and Princess Kate, 42, have supported as part of their belief that physical activity can help mental well-being and encourage young people to thrive.

Prince William met pupils from the local Ark White City primary school and WEST’s Young People’s Development Group who were involved in planning the facilities in the new center, which includes a sports hall, fitness suite, indoor climbing wall, teaching kitchen, performing arts studio and café. The facilities will serve hot nutritious meals costing no more than $1.30.

<p>Frank Augstein - WPA Pool/Getty Images</p> Prince William throws a basketball during his visit to WEST youth zone on March 14, 2024

Frank Augstein - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince William throws a basketball during his visit to WEST youth zone on March 14, 2024

Related: Kate Middleton's Mother's Day Photo Isn't the Only Recent Family Snap Accused of Photoshop

He also chatted with young people using the four-court indoor sports hall before seeing the teaching kitchen, used to support the development of cooking skills.

WEST, which stands for Where Everyone Sticks Together, is also part of an educational hub for local people and is staffed by skilled and dedicated youth workers who “will support young people from across west London to develop the skills and confidence they need to achieve their dreams,” William’s office at Kensington Palace said.

<p>Frank Augstein - WPA Pool/Getty Images</p> Prince William cheers at the WEST youth zone on March 14, 2024

Frank Augstein - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince William cheers at the WEST youth zone on March 14, 2024

Prince William's engagement marked what royal aides will be hoping is a business-as-usual day of public appearances following days of controversy over the release of the Mother’s Day image by the palace.

Related: Prince William Carries on with Second Royal Duty of the Day amid Kate Middleton's Photo Controversy

<p>AP Photo/Frank Augstein</p> Prince William visits WEST youth zone on March 14, 2024

AP Photo/Frank Augstein

Prince William visits WEST youth zone on March 14, 2024

Later on Thursday, Prince William will be the guest of honor as he joins the latest young people receiving accolades from the Diana Award. The charity, the only one to carry the name of his late mother Princess Diana, is marking its 25th anniversary. It was set up in 1999, two years after the princess' death following a car crash in Paris.

As well as handing out the awards to 20 Legacy Award winners, Prince William will also give a speech at the glittering occasion, which is being held at London’s Science Museum.

<p>AP Photo/Frank Augstein</p> Prince William visits WEST youth zone on March 14, 2024

AP Photo/Frank Augstein

Prince William visits WEST youth zone on March 14, 2024

Princess Kate, who is recovering from planned abdominal surgery, was last seen briefly on Monday when she was pictured in a car leaving Windsor with Prince William. She had a private appointment, PEOPLE understands. William was heading to the annual Commonwealth Day service in London.

The appearance came hours after the Princess of Wales issued an apology over the Mother's Day image, which was pulled by multiple photo and news agencies amid suspicions of manipulation.

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<p>AP Photo/Frank Augstein</p> Prince William visits WEST youth zone on March 14, 2024

AP Photo/Frank Augstein

Prince William visits WEST youth zone on March 14, 2024

Kate wrote in a post shared on X (formerly known as Twitter), "Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother's Day."

Her apology for the photo was signed off with a “C” for Catherine, indicating the personal nature of the message.

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