Princess’s best friend!
The canine made an impromptu appearance at the mental health roundtable that was led by the royal. The black labrador took part in a few friendly introductions in the hallway of the residence of ambassador Sir Geoffrey Adams at The Hague, Netherlands, on Tuesday.
After her canine meeting, Kate sat down with the local Trimbos Institute, a Dutch institute of mental health and addiction, and two of her charities, the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and Action on Addiction.
“It was an inspiring meeting,” Rutger Engels, CEO of the Trimbos Institute, told PEOPLE. “By the questions the Duchess asked, you could tell she was well informed and truly interested in the wellbeing of these vulnerable children.”
He said they discussed evidence-based interventions, guidelines for treatment and family based interventions.
“It was a relaxed atmosphere for the meeting,” he added.
Kate assembled the Learning Exchange Seminar on the themes of treatment and prevention of addiction and family mental health during her first official visit to The Netherlands.
Peter Fonagy, the chief executive of the Anna Freud Centre, called it a “brilliant idea of bringing institutions together that have similar interests. She’s aiming to help us learn from each other and bring back what there is from each side.”
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In the future, this sort of work could be a growing aspect of Kate’s royal role.
“In Europe, particularly, the problems aren’t that different and the solutions aren’t that different either,” Fonagy told PEOPLE. “So each of us inventing our own solutions is probably not a sensible way forward. Because of her charisma, because of her interest, she is able to bring together people who would not normally be talking to one another and that brings enormous value.”
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An aide said that Kate was “keen to find out what is similar and what is different about the way they work and it’s a good opportunity to build up relationships between her patronages and other organizations.”
Kate heard how Trimbos has created a range of books for parents and children to read together to promote positive mental health and how they use a woolly mouse toy to help get the youngest of children to feel comfortable opening up.
“Still too often children are overlooked when one of their parents has a mental disorder or addiction problem,” Johannes Vermeer and Chief Executive officer of the Trimbos told reporters. “We hope that by sharing our experience and knowledge with our colleagues in the UK and the excellent institutions they represent, we can take prevention and treatment for this group to a higher level.”