William proud owner of Aston Villa strip, ex-chairman reveals at Palace

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The Duke of Cambridge is the proud owner of an Aston Villa kit thanks to the club’s former chairman, Sir Doug Ellis.

Sir Doug, who was the premier league club’s chairman for more than 30 years, sent the team’s top, socks and shorts to Prince William when he was a student at St Andrews University in Scotland.

The self-made millionaire spoke about the gift after being knighted by the Prince of Wales at a Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony.

Sir Doug was dubbed a knight by Charles for his charity work, having invested heavily in hospitals and other charitable projects over the past three decades, with a particular emphasis on youth and sport.

Prince William is a well-known fan of Aston Villa while his brother Prince Harry is believed to support Arsenal.

Cheshire-born Sir Doug, who stepped down as Villa chairman in 2006, said after the ceremony: “William is my number one supporter now and the Prince is going to make sure he comes to Aston Villa.

“His father asked me to send him some kit when he was at university, which I did and I got a lovely personal letter from William thanking me, which lies in my office at home. I asked his father to make sure he comes as my guest for lunch before a match which will be next season.”

The former chairman earned the nickname “Deadly Doug” during his time at the Villa Park helm for sacking managers.

He first took over the club in 1968 but left in 1979 before returning in 1982 and remaining in charge until the sale to Randy Lerner six years ago.

Also being knighted was Sir Andre Geim, the scientist who discovered the “wonder material” graphene with colleague Professor Konstantin Novoselov, who has also been awarded a knighthood.

The Nobel Prize-winning professor of physics, from the University of Manchester, received the honour for services to science.

Graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice, is the thinnest material known and the strongest ever measured. It also conducts electricity and heat better than any other material.

Potential applications include fold-away mobile phones, wallpaper-thin lighting panels, and the next generation of aircraft.

Sir Andre and Prof Novoselov won the Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery.

He said after the ceremony: “I try and encourage my colleagues and my PhD students to try and break from routine. We are doing things too professionally. We have to be professional but we also have to have some spontaneity – this can apply to other aspects of life.

“Graphene is an example of how we do not look around carefully at what’s in front of us.

“It is found in pencils, in the line you draw right in front of you.

“There must be millions of scientists around the world but none noticed what was there.”

Sir Jeremy Heywood, permanent secretary at No 10 and Cabinet Secretary, was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath during the investiture ceremony.

The high-ranking civil servant is the most senior policy adviser to the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister.