Duchess Kate and Prince William meet with 85-year-old Kate has been calling during the coronavirus pandemic

By Zach Harper

Duchess Kate and Prince William made a very special stop on their royal train tour when they met with an 85-year-old with whom the duchess has been having telephone conversations during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Dec. 6, The Sun reported the Duchess of Cambridge has been calling Len Gardner, who lives in Batley, England, to check up on him and his wife, Shirley. Len looks after Shirley, who has Alzheimer's disease, full-time. Len's also been battling bladder cancer.

PHOTOS: Duchess Kate and Prince William spread holiday cheer on royal train tour

Kate and the Duke of Cambridge met with Len at the Batley Community Centre during their stop in West Yorkshire on their royal train tour, where they heard about initiatives the community centre has been supporting during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include buying food for vulnerable members of the community and making telephone calls to check up on people's well-being.

Kate and William chatted with Len at the community centre. Photo: © Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

After meeting, William and Kate travelled to Len and Shirley's house, where they met Shirley out front.

Kate's phone calls to Len started in May, and and they've truly touched him. The Sun reports the duchess told him to call her Catherine during their first conversation when he asked how he should refer to her.

"Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would be talking on the phone to the future Queen of England," he told the publication. "I will treasure our conversations for the rest of my life. Those calls helped me because they gave me something to look forward to."

Entire families had gathered outside their homes to watch William and Kate visit the Gardners. Photo: © Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Kate first dialed Len in May, and he told The Sun she said Prince George and Princess Charlotte were playing in the family garden at Anmer Hall, where the Cambridges spent the first U.K. lockdown. William was reported to have recovered from COVID-19 there. The duchess told Len the family had been making pasta while in isolation, and Len said he would love to do that himself, but had no machine with which to do it and also didn't have tipo00 flour. That's the special Italian grade of flour used to make pasta.

"About three days after our conversation, a brand new pasta machine arrived from the duchess," he told The Sun. "Two days later I got two kilos of '00' flour from Buckingham Palace.

"I can tell you, this lady that 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."

That wasn't the only time Kate called Len. She did so again in June, where they spoke for about 40 minutes and Kate mentioned her love of sheep shearing.

"Apparently they have thousands of sheep down at Sandringham and her eldest children couldn't understand how we get wool without killing the animal," he added. "So she took them down to the sheds to watch the sheep being sheared. It was the sort of conversation I might have with anyone about their family."

Early in the coronavirus pandemic, Kensington Palace shared that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were making sure to keep in touch with patronages by talking to people by phone. Kate has also been outspoken about taking care of one's mental health during this time and providing more support for carers and parents.

We're thrilled to hear William and Kate visited Len and that the duchess was so generous, and we also imagine Len won't be the only person to meet Kate and William after speaking to them by telephone.

The Cambridges are on a whirlwind tour of Scotland, England and Wales this week, thanking frontline workers for their efforts to keep Britain running during the coronavirus pandemic and also meeting with people to hear about how their lives changed during lockdown and how they've been coping.

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