Kate Middleton meets man she had secret calls with in lockdown

Kate Middleton has met the pensioner she had secret calls with in lockdown.

Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at Manchester Victoria station, Greater Manchester, on the second day of a three-day tour across the country.
(Image credit: Phil Noble/PA Wire/PA Images)

During Kate and Prince William's whistle-stop Royal Rail Tour of Britain which kicked-off on Sunday, the Duchess has met up with the pensioner she secretly called in lockdown.

Back in May, the Duchess of Cambridge, who is mum to Prince George, Charlotte and Louis, took some time out of her busy schedule at Anmer Hall to give a surprise phone call to full-time carer Len Gardner, 85, who was looking after his wife Shirley, 84.

At the time, the pair enjoyed a 30 minute conversation at a time when Len was shielding, so hadn't had much interaction.

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At the time, Len revealed Kate told him to just call her Catherine, he added, "After the first two sentences I didn’t feel like I was talking to someone so important. She told me Prince George and Princess Charlotte were playing in the garden and she was keeping an eye on them through the window.”

But it wasn't just a phone call which Kate surprised him with. The former textile-industry worker said he told her how much he loved Italian food but couldn’t make his own pasta because he didn’t have a machine or the right flour.

And just days later, a parcel arrived for Mr Gardner.

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“About three days after our conversation, a brand new pasta machine arrived from the duchess. Two days later I got two kilos of ‘00’ (the Italian grading system) flour from Buckingham Palace,” Mr Gardner said.

“I can tell you, this lady you see on television that goes into the crowds and talks to people — what you see is what you get. She is a very, very nice person.”

Mr Gardiner wrote a letter of thanks to Kate and framed her response on his wall above a letter he received from the Queen for his 60th anniversary with his wife in 2018. 

But Kate's call wasn't a one-off - a month later, she called him again and told him how she has taken Princess Charlotte and Prince George to the sheds in Sandringham to see how wool is made from sheep. 

He said his chats with the royal helped him cope through the quarantine and are something he would treasure “for the rest of his life”.

“Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would be talking on the phone to the future Queen of England,” added Mr Gardner.

“I will treasure our conversations for the rest of my life. Those calls helped me because they gave me something to look forward to," he added.

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 14 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently looks after all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life.

Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. Having spent the start of her career working on local newspapers and online, Selina spent six years as Acting News Editor and Entertainment Reporter at the Scunthorpe Telegraph where she dug into hard news stories, conducted interviews, covered court reporting, features, and entertainment, whilst going to gigs in her spare time.

Whilst at the paper she was awarded an O2 Media Judges' Special Award for helping a terminally ill cancer sufferer realise his dying wish and marry his childhood sweetheart through a successful newspaper campaign. Things like this are close to her heart when it comes to using journalism to make a positive difference in people's lives.

Selina later branched further into all things celebrity to became a Showbiz Writer at Heat magazine, covering red carpet events, showbiz parties, and various launches before going freelance for two years. One of her biggest celebrity achievements - aside from generating celebrity exclusives - was interviewing Take That (including Robbie Williams) and bumping into Simon Cowell so much at events she told him 'I'm calling you my showbiz dad!'

In 2017 she joined TI Media as a senior reporter on Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, Woman's Weekly celebrity desk before branching online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first.

When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.