The Duchess of Cambridge visited a women’s prison today to meet inmates in the final leg of a three-part trip tour of Britain in 24 hours as she launches a landmark survey on early childhood development.
Mother-of-three Kate, 38, met current prisoners at HMP Send near Woking, Surrey, and talked to women she met during a previous visit in 2015, who have since been released and are trying to rebuild their families.
This afternoon, she told a group at the prison who have since been released from custody: ‘It really shocked me when I came here last time how early the challenges were that you face. How early you could take it back.’
Today was the third day in a row that Kate or her husband William took the spotlight as the Royal Family carries on with life after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit as senior royals and Harry flew to Canada on Monday night.
Other royals were also hard at work today, with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall meeting patients at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Sophie, Countess of Wessex meeting members of the armed forces in Sierra Leone. The latter is the sort of trip Harry and Meghan might have done in the past, especially considering their love of Africa.
Kate wore a £349 Massimo Dutti camel coat for her engagements today, teaming it with a polo neck jumper and £30 leopard print skirt from Zara. She also opted for a gold medallion pendant and Accessorise drop earrings.
One Send inmate described their time in prison as one of the best things that had happened to them, crediting the support of Forward Trust programmes. On hearing that, the duchess commented: ‘It’s so often I hear that, why does it have to get to that point before people receive the help and support?’
Returning to the impact early years experiences can have in people, Kate said: ‘I’m hugely passionate about trying to really help get into this crisis, trying to help provide that prevention mechanism and that support system in our communities. Particularly that support in the early years of life.’
Her visit comes as the Duchess of Sussex’s aides revealed in an Instagram post that she made a secret visit to The Mayhew animal welfare charity in Kensal Green, North West London, while in the capital two weeks ago.
The Duchess of Cambridge (right) with Prison Governor Carlene Dixon (left) during a visit to HMP Send near Woking, Surrey, today. Kate was told about how the prison is aiming to help inmates to gain vocational qualifications and work experience
The Duchess of Cambridge walks through HMP Send in Surrey during the visit this afternoon, where she met Prison Governor Carlene Dixon (right). Kate wanted to find out about how women who have been released are rebuilding their families
The Duchess of Cambridge smiles as she leaves HMP Send near Woking in Surrey today following a visit to the prison. She met current prisoners and talked to women she met during a previous visit in 2015, who have since been released
The Duchess of Cambridge speaks to Governor Carlene Dixon after visiting HMP Send near Woking in Surrey this afternoon
The Duchess of Cambridge speaks with trustee Benny Refson (right) and former prisoners who have received help with rehabilitation from the Forward Trust charity during a visit to HMP Send near Woking in Surrey this afternoon
The Duchess of Cambridge speaks with former prisoners who have received help with rehabilitation from the Forward Trust during a visit to HMP Send near Woking in Surrey today
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at HMP Send near Woking in Surrey this afternoon as she makes a visit to the prison
The Duchess of Cambridge is welcomed to HMP Send in Surrey this afternoon where she is meeting officials and inmates
The Duchess visits HMP Send in Surrey today to talk to current inmates and women she met during a previous visit
The visit to HMP Send by the Duchess of Cambridge today is part of her 24-hour tour of the country to launch a new survey
The Duchess of Cambridge visits HMP Send in Surrey today as part of her three-part tour of the UK over a 24-hour period
Kate arrives at HMP Send this afternoon on a visit to the women’s prison in Surrey as part of her tour of Britain
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The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at HMP Send near Woking today as she prepares to meet inmates at the prison
The Duchess of Cambridge walks into HMP Send this afternoon where she is hearing about work done by the Forward Trust
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at HMP Send in Woking today as she continues her three-part tour of Britain
Kate is visiting HMP Send in Surrey today as she goes on a tour promoting her new survey about child development
HMP Send, pictured today which has an 80-bed resettlement unit, aims to build women’s skills and improve their self-esteem
The visit by Kate to HMP Send today is part of her 24-hour tour of the country to launch ‘Five big questions on the under fives’
2015: The Duchess of Cambridge visits HMP Send in September 2015 following a visit to a rehabilitation centre in the prison
2015: Kate speaks with Isha Walker, who was on an anti-crime programme, at the jail in Surrey in September 2015
Wild thing! Kate sports a £30 Zara leopard print skirt and a £349 Massimo Dutti coat paired with a new medallion necklace
Kate Middleton in Cardiff today
The Duchess of Cambridge looked chic in a £349 Massimo Dutti camel coat as she arrived in Cardiff today.
Kate Middleton, 38, is in the Welsh Capital for her second visit during her 24 hour three-leg trip around Britain to launch a landmark survey on early childhood development.
Cutting a stylish figure, the-mother-of three proved her love for tailored shapes as she stepped out in the buttoned wool and cashmere coat, teaming it with a poloneck jumper and £30 leopard print skirt from Zara.
Adding an unusual accessory, Kate opted for a gold medallion pendant and Accessorise drop earrings.
Kate completed the look with black knee high Ralph Lauren boots, previously worn in December 2018 and wore her hair in loose curls around her face.
The Duchess’ leopard print skirt is currently on sale for £10, while the limited edition coat has dropped to £149.
At HMP Send today, Kate heard about the work that the Forward Trust charity does at the prison in supporting inmates to improve their relationships with friends and family, including reconnecting with children.
The prison, which has an 80-bed resettlement unit, aims to build women’s skills, improve their self-esteem and look at reasons behind offending, as well as helping them to gain vocational qualifications and work experience.
Earlier today, Kate pulled faces and smiled at babies in Cardiff as she attended a sensory class at the Ely and Careau Children’s Centre and heard about the support that parents receive.
She spoke about her experience of being ‘isolated’ as a first-time mother, as she recalled living in Anglesey in North Wales when Prince George was a ‘tiny baby’ and William was a RAF Search and Rescue helicopter pilot.
While visiting the children’s centre, Kate told a group: ‘I had a tiny, tiny baby in the middle of Anglesey it was so isolated, so cut off. I didn’t have any family around and he was doing night shifts.’
The centre provides support services to children and their families and helps youngsters with special needs in addition to offering adult education, parenting support and community education teams.
Open access play, breakfast, after-school activities and holiday clubs are also housed in the centre, as well as health visitors, speech and language therapists and partners such as Sure Start and Language and Play.
The centre also works with community partners such as the Salvation Army and Barnardo’s. Kate, who will also visit Surrey this afternoon, hopes her new initiative will trigger ‘lasting change for generations’.
She kicked off her solo tour in Birmingham yesterday, but there was a minor hiccup in a children’s play cafe when the door of a cupboard under a sink came off in her hands. Kate joked: ‘I think we’ve broken the cafe.’
The Duchess of Cambridge chats with a father and baby on her visit to the Ely and Caerau Children’s Centre in Cardiff today
Kate was raising awareness of the poll Five Big Questions on the Under Fives.
She was also due to make a visit to promote the survey in London today, but this was cancelled due to weather conditions affecting her travel plans.
Speaking at Birmingham’s science museum yesterday, she said: ‘As a parent, I know how much we cherish the future health and happiness of our children.
‘I want to hear the key issues affecting families and communities so I can focus my work on where it is needed most. My ambition is to provide lasting change for generations to come.’
Kate got a tour of an interactive, child-sized mini-city at the Thinktank museum by ‘mini mayor’ Poppy Jordan, eight. Children showed her their workshop before popping into the launderette, a shop and a mini-museum.
The duchess said: ‘Parents, carers and families are at the heart of caring for children in the formative years, so that is why I really want to listen to them. The early years are more crucial for future health and happiness than any other moment in our lifetime.’
Kate wore a new gold bracelet yesterday from a company with three royal warrants. She flashed an elegant gold bangle on her right wrist as she visited Birmingham, which was identified as a product by UK brand Halcyon Days.
Kate shakes hands with Morfudd Meredith, Lord-Lieutenant of South Glamorgan, as she leaves the centre in Cardiff today
The Duchess of Cambridge opted for a gold medallion pendant for her visit to Cardiff, where she was pictured today
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives for a visit to Ely and Caerau Children’s Centre in Cardiff this morning
The Duchess of Cambridge is in Cardiff today during her nationwide tour, which provides high quality early years educatioN
The label is stocked by luxury retailers including Harrods and boasts royal warrants from the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles. Kate was wearing a £110 Gold Plated Maya Torque Bangle.
Five Big Questions on the Under Fives: Kate’s poll
Question 1: What do you believe is most important for children growing up in the UK today to be able to live a happy adult life?
- Good physical and mental health
- Good friendships and relationships
- Access to opportunities
- Access to a good education
- Question 2: Which of these statements is closest to your opinion?
- It is primarily the responsibility of parents to give children aged up to five the best chance of health and happiness
- It is primarily the responsibility of others in society
- It is the shared responsibility of parents and others in society
- Don’t know
Question 3: How much do you agree or disagree with this statement: The mental health and well-being of parents and carers has a great impact on the development of their child(ren)?
- Strongly agree
- Tend to agree
- Neither agree nor disagree
- Tend to disagree
- Strongly disagree
Question 4: Which of the following is closest to your opinion of what influences how children develop from the start of pregnancy to age five?
- Mostly the traits a child is born with
- Mostly the experiences of a child in the early years
- Both nature and nurture equally
- Don’t know
Question 5: Which period of a child and young person’s life do you think is the most important for fostering health and happiness in adulthood?
- Start of pregnancy to five years
- 5-11 years
- 11-16 years
- 16-18 years
- 18-24 years
- Don’t know
- All equally important
Extra question: Is there anything else that you would like to tell us about your views on the early years of childhood?
Meanwhile, at St James’s Palace, her husband William called for help to end the ‘abhorrent’ illegal wildlife trade at a meeting of the United For Wildlife taskforces.
The Duke of Cambridge said it had been an ‘encouraging’ year of seizures and investigations. But he warned: ‘There are still too many criminals who know they can find a market and believe they can act with impunity.’
The Duchess described the early years development of children as life’s most ‘crucial’ moment for ‘future health and happiness’ as she launched the landmark national survey about the issue.
Kate has made the subject one of the main pillars of her public work and has travelled around Britain to highlight her ambitious project to ask ‘five big questions on the under fives’ which will guide her future work.
The online poll, conducted by Ipsos Mori on behalf of the Royal Foundation, is thought to be the biggest survey of its kind and aims to encourage a nationwide conversation on early childhood.
Kate has established a steering group of experts, which first met in May 2018, to look at early years – and they have been considering how the duchess and her Royal Foundation can help improve the outcomes for youngsters.
The duchess’s survey will run for a month, from January 21 to February 21, and will ask those taking the poll five questions to gauge their views about early years.
During the visit, Kate also met Giovanna Fletcher, behind the Happy Mum Happy Baby podcast, who has also written about being a mother to three children with husband Tom Fletcher, a member of the band McFly.
Jasmine Norris, assistant nursery manager at St Paul’s Nursery in the Balsall Heath area of Birmingham, brought eight of her children to the event and chatted to the duchess.
She said: ‘I think early years is vital, incredibly important. I think we help the children to move on into their future education, and their lives. We want them to be the best they can be – we want to prepare them for life.’
David Holmes, chief executive of Family Action, which helps families in need and has Kate as its royal patron, joined the duchess at her launch event.
He said: ‘Every parent, carer and family wants the best for their child, and raising the profile of the vital early years in a child’s life is work of national importance.
‘The insight from this survey will give the early years sector valuable direction in designing and delivering services and support which reflect what matters most to people.
Kate’s brother-in-law Prince Harry joined Meghan and Archie in Canada on Monday night after arriving on a WestJet plane on Vancouver Island as they prepare to live a more private life.
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at Ely and Careau Children’s Centre in Cardiff today during her 24-hour tour of the country
Kate is on a 24-hour tour of the UK which is seeing her visit Cardiff today (pictured) following a trip to Birmingham yesterday
Adult education, play, breakfast and after-school clubs and holiday clubs are all housed in the centre in Cardiff
Kate visits the centre in Cardiff today which also works with community partners such as the Salvation Army and Barnardo’s
The Duchess of Cambridge visits Ely and Careau Children’s Centre in Cardiff today during her 24-hour UK tour
The centre in Cardiff provides support services to children and their families and helps youngsters with special needs
Kate, pictured in Cardiff today, has established a steering group of experts to look at the issue of early years development
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at Ely and Careau Childrens Centre in Cardiff today during her 24-hour UK tour
The centre in Cardiff being visited by Kate today has health visitors as well as speech and language therapists
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives in Cardiff today as she carries out a 24-hour tour of the country to launch her new survey
Kate, who is visiting the centre in Cardiff this morning, hopes her new initiative will trigger ‘lasting change for generations’
The Duchess of Cambridge stops off in Cardiff today for her second visit on a three-leg trip around Britain over 24 hours
The Duchess of Sussex’s aides revealed today that she visited The Mayhew centre in North West London two weeks ago
The Sussex Royal Instagram account posted two pictures of Meghan on a visit to the centre in Kensal Green two weeks ago
The post on @SussexRoyal today mentioned the ‘incredible progress made throughout the festive period’ at the centre
Meghan’s aides revealed today that she visited The Mayhew centre in Kensal Green, North West London, two weeks ago to hear about the ‘incredible progress made throughout the festive period’.
Birthday gift from Wills? Kate Middleton flashes new £110 gold bracelet
The Duchess of Cambridge wore a new gold bracelet yesterday from a company with three royal warrants.
Kate Middleton, 38, flashed an elegant gold bangle on her right wrist as she visited the Birmingham science museum to launch a survey of early childhood.
Kate flashed a gold bangle (left) in Birmingham yesterday
The piece of jewellery was identified by royal fashion fan account Middleton Maven as the £110 Gold Plated Maya Torque Bangle by British brand Halcyon Days.
The label is stocked by luxury retailers including Harrods and boasts royal warrants from the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles.
The understated piece of jewellery was identified as the £110 Gold Plated Maya Torque Bangle, by British brand Halcyon Days
As Kate celebrated her 38th birthday earlier this month, it is possible the bangle is a gift from her husband, Prince William, 37.
The Duchess cut a stylish figure at the engagement yesterday, wearing a jazzy electric blue £295 blouse by British designer Tabitha Ward, which she paired with £130 high-waisted Jigsaw trousers.
The Sussex Royal Instagram account posted two photographs this morning of her during a visit to the centre, where she has been a patron for a year.
The timing of the post was noted by several people commenting on the post, with Liyana Ali saying: ‘Someone is so insecure that every time the Cambridges or Kate is out for an important engagement they’ve posted on the exact same day. Coincidence?’
Another, @xmaurxx, said: ‘So you had these pictures for almost a month but released them during the release of Kate’s project? Interesting.’
And a third, @p_hello123, posted: ‘Hmm. The timing of this post, even though the visit has passed already, is very interesting.’
Harry arrived in Canada hours after meeting Prime Minister Boris Johnson and world leaders at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in South East London, in one of his few remaining official royal engagements.
The duke gave an emotional speech in London on Sunday night, saying he had ‘no other option’ but to give up his official royal duties and forge a new life in Canada.
In the speech in London, Harry told invited guests: ‘What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you.
‘Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the Commonwealth and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.’
The Sussexes had wanted to remain as working royals, although not prominent members, and drop their public funding to become financially independent.
However, critics have accused the couple of turning their backs on the monarchy to enjoy the freedom of being able to take on commercial ventures.
Meanwhile in Switzerland today, Prince Charles will launch a project to help financial markets become more sustainable during a visit to the World Economic Forum.
Charles will highlight his Sustainable Markets Council during a brief visit to the Swiss resort town of Davos. He will then travel on to Israel and Palestine for an official trip.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall meets nurses during a visit to Birmingham Children’s Hospital today
The Duchess of Cornwall meets out patients during a visit to Birmingham Children’s Hospital today
The Countess of Wessex speaks to female members of the armed forces at the Sierra Leone Peace Museum in Freetown today
Sophie, Countess of Wessex greets female members of the armed forces at the Sierra Leone Peace Museum today
The Duchess of Cambridge launches a major UK-wide survey on early childhood at Birmingham Science Museum yesterday
The Duchess plays with a child as she visits MiniBrum, an interactive, child-sized world in Birmingham yesterday
Children from Henley Montessori and St Paul’s Nursery in Balsall Heath showed Kate their workshop in Birmingham yesterday
Prince Harry smiles after arriving on a WestJet plane at Victoria Airport on Vancouver Island in Canada on Monday night
Meghan took her eight-month-old son Archie and her two dogs Oz and Guy for a walk on Vancouver Island on Monday