Harry’s beard piques toddler’s interest during visit to children’s hospital

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The Duke of Sussex’s beard was the centre of attention when Harry met a young patient at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Noah Nicholson, who is two-years-old next week, grabbed the royal whiskers as Harry chatted at his bedside, leaving the duke laughing and clearly smitten by the youngster.

Harry said to the toddler: “Have you never seen a beard before?”

But the little patient got the last laugh, as he whacked the duke with his favourite toy giraffe.

Noah’s mother, Tracy Nicholson, 36, from Grimsby, said he had been in hospital for most of his life after he was born at 27 weeks and has had multiple problems with his intestines.

Ms Nicholson said Harry was “really good with the children.”

The duke was at the hospital to open a new £40 million wing.

The Duke of Sussex meets youngsters at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, where he was officially opening a new wing
The Duke of Sussex meets youngsters at Sheffield Children’s Hospital (Owen Humphreys/PA)

As he left, he joked with nurse Julie Austin, who was inside the costume of hospital mascot Theo and also met Harry’s mother during her 1989 visit.

Dressed in an open-necked shirt, a casual blue jacket and blue trousers, Harry chatted with children on one of the new wards as well as in the playroom and specialist plaster room where youngsters with broken limbs have their casts put on with a range of colourful decorating options.

The Duke of Sussex was officially opening a new wing at the hospital
The Duke of Sussex was officially opening a new wing at the hospital (Owen Humphreys/PA)

While there, the duke was shown virtual reality rehabilitation technology which helps make it easier for amputees to train themselves to use prosthetic limbs.

He met with 58-year-old Maurice Lee, an amputee for more than 20 years, who demonstrated how the software can help simulate the feeling of having full use of his right arm.

Harry during his visit to Sheffield Hallam University
Harry also visited Sheffield Hallam University (Jacob King/PA)

The royal was then shown a racing car which was built by engineering students at the university and recently raced at Silverstone.

The Duke of Sussex, who was told about the university's commitment to applied learning in teaching and research
The Duke of Sussex learned about applied learning in teaching and research at the university (Jacob King/PA)

Before unveiling a plaque to commemorate his visit, Harry joked with crowds of staff assembled on the balcony above him, saying: “Is this what you guys have been waiting for? I hope it’s good.”

Harry ended his visit to Sheffield at the Invictus UK Trials at the English Institute of Sport.

The duke chatted with powerlifters as they waited for their turn to compete, including Jaco Van Bilion – a former Army engineer who said he last spoke to Harry when he was fixing his Apache helicopter ahead of their deployment to Afghanistan in 2011.

Harry spent time chatting with the families and friends of competitors before watching the medal ceremony for the women’s middleweight powerlifting.

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