The Duchess of Cambridge had a very busy day on Wednesday as she carried out official duties in two different countries.
Catherine started her day in Northern Ireland, where she visited The Ark Open Farm in County Down to promote her 5 Big Questions on the Under 5s survey. At the farm the duchess spent time speaking to parents and grandparents about their experiences of raising young kids.
Catherine, who is often praised for her maternal instinct, was also pictured laughing and smiling as she sat alongside a group of youngsters, before she met some of the farm’s resident critters, including lambs, alpacas, guinea pigs and the duchess was even photographed holding a snake.
The duchess dressed down for the occasion, wearing a pastel blue polo-neck jumper with a pair of black skinny jeans. She completed the casual look with her trusty pair of Penelope Chilvers brown knee-length leather boots and a waxed Barbour jacket.
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Today The Duchess of Cambridge has taken her UK-wide #5BigQuestions survey to Northern Ireland and Scotland, starting with a visit to @TheArkOpenFarm in County Down, Northern Ireland. The #5BigQuestions Survey aims to spark a national conversation on the early years that will ultimately help bring about positive, lasting change for generations to come – visit the link in our bio to fill out the survey. At the farm The Duchess spoke with local parents and grandparents about their experiences of raising young children, and their thoughts on the early years. What we experience in our earliest years – from in the womb to the age of five – is instrumental in shaping our future lives. The Duchess has spent time meeting families across the country and hearing about the issues they face, in addition to speaking with academics, experts, organisations and practitioners. The ‘5 Big Questions on the Under 5s’ survey is designed to bring together the thoughts of as many people as possible – recognising that everyone has a role in ensuring strong, healthy foundations for the youngest in our society that will positively affect their lifelong outcomes. Photos © Kensington Palace
The mother-of-three then hurried across the Irish Sea to Scotland, where she carried out her second engagement of the day in the city of Aberdeen. Catherine visited local cafe Social Bite where she spent time with employees, volunteers and customers who have experienced homelessness about the lasting impacts that childhood experiences can have.
According to information shared by Kensington Palace, Social Bite runs social enterprise cafes across Scotland and distributes food and hot drinks to people experiencing homelessness. The organisation also employs staff who have experienced homelessness themselves.
“I wanted to hear directly from people across the UK and it’s great to have been able to talk to people in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and across England about their experiences,” Catherine said in a statement. “I want to thank the 200,000 people who have filled it out because each and every response will help show us what society really thinks about raising the next generation.”
Catherine’s solo day of engagements comes just one day after she stepped out with husband Prince William, father-in-law Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall to visit the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre in Loughborough.
The royal foursome visited the centre, which helps to treat and rehabilitate some of the most severely injured members of the armed forces, on Tuesday and spent time with patients and staff members.
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Sixth time lucky 🏀 The Duke of Cambridge scores in Wheelchair Basketball (with a little help from The Prince of Wales!) during a visit to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre today. Together with The Duchess of Cornwall and The Duchess of Cambridge, they met patients and staff at DMRC Stanford Hall, which rehabilitates some of the most seriously injured members of the Armed Forces, whilst also helping to return those who have been injured in the course of training to work. It’s not all about physical rehabilitation though — supporting the mental health of patients is also a key part of the recovery process, with several patients at centre using gardening as a form of therapy, and in the workshop woodworking and other practical skills helped people gain more confidence and learn new skills.
Prince William even got involved with some wheelchair basketball and shared a sweet father-son moment with the Prince of Wales as he attempted to score a difficult shot from a seated position. A video shared on the Kensington Royal Instagram page showed Prince Charles, 71, pushing his son closer to the basketball net, before giving him a supportive squeeze on both shoulders.
Royal fans commented on the video, praising the pair for their sweet relationship. One wrote: “I love the father son bonding. Prince Charles is so cute.”
Another wrote: “It’s so cute how bouncy and giddy he was when his dad started pushing the wheelchair closer, lol. Soooo cute!” While another said: “Sooo cute to see the affection between Prince Charles and Prince William, a rare glimpse of them just being father and son!”