Prince William celebrated business and trade as he spoke at the launch of the 2018 International Business Festival.

Prince William

Prince William

The 35-year-old royal - whose wife, Duchess Catherine, is expecting their third child - praised the important work that is being done to help "build connections with trading partners" across the world.

He said: "It is fantastic to be here this evening in my capacity as Patron of the 2018 International Business Festival. Britain has always been a great trading nation, not only for itself but as a hub for global trade between other partners.

"As a nation, we have always celebrated trade - which is one of the oldest forms of human activity - as a means for prosperity, liberalising our society and raising the common good. The International Business Festival celebrates this heritage. The Festival's organising principle is that business can, and should, be a force for good.

"As we look to the future, we all recognise just how important it will be that we work to build connections with trading partners all around the world - strengthening links with old friends, and creating new opportunities."

And the Duke of Cambridge - who also has Prince George, four, and Princess Charlotte, two, with Duchess Catherine - praised the festival organisers for focusing on the efforts of small and medium sized companies in particular.

He added: "When meeting the people behind the small and medium sized companies at these events, I am always struck by the ingenuity, drive and commitment on display.

"Enterprises like these are the engines of the British economy. The International Business Festival has a vital role to play in providing the support and connections they need to grow.

"Since its launch, the Festival has been successful in helping businesses to attract significant investment and access to opportunities. I am very pleased to see the way in which the Festival is particularly focusing on S.M.E.s this year as the backbone of our economy."