Simon Perry
June 17, 2012 11:00 AM

Talk about a down-to-earth duchess.

On Sunday, the Duchess of Cambridge joined inner-city schoolchildren on a camping trip in Kent. The group of 28 eight and nine-year-olds built tents and made campfires on a weekend designed to help develop their confidence and teamwork skills. Kate, 30, (who also spent the day Friday with local children) joined some of the campers under their makeshift shelters and on a ramble through the woods.

And, of course, she answered their questions about life as a princess. “It’s very busy and great fun but I am very well looked after,” Kate told one child.

“She said she got to visit lots of countries but hadn’t seen as many as William,” Tigerlily Smith, 8, told reporters of her conversation with Kate. As for married life, “She said William was very sweet and kind and spoiled her,” Smith revealed.

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Another schoolchild asked how long it would be before Kate would get to sit on the throne. “It’s not actually my job yet!” she responded.

The students, from ARK’s King Solomon Academy Primary in north Westminster, London, went camping at Widehorizons’ Margaret McMillan House in Wrotham, Kent. The Foundation of Princes William and Harry (of which Kate is now a patron) supports ARK, a U.K. education charity.

The dressed-down duchess (who donned Le Chameau boots and jeans), was a hit with the children, one of whom was eager to show off his manners. As two of the students showed her around their sleeping quarters, Zahid Shanvere, 8, gallantly held open the tent flap for her, saying, “After you.”

“What a gentleman,” Kate replied with a laugh. She was also amused when the little campers told her they’d been afraid that they’d encounter wildlife while camping. “What were you scared of?” she asked. “That a spider might creep in?”

“A mole,” Shanvere clarified.

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The campers were also taught to make dough sticks, wrapping it around twigs over the fire. Kate tried a small piece of the smoky bread and declared it, “very nice.”

ARK spokesperson Lesley Smith said the campers enjoyed themselves tremendously on their trip. “Many of the children here live in flats with no gardens and little area to play,” she explained. “This has been such an experience for them.”

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