Kate Middleton and Princess Anne Step Out on Their First-Ever Joint Royal Outing

The Duchess of Cambridge and the Princess Royal head out on a rare outing together to support maternal healthcare organizations.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Anne, Princess Royal arrive at the RCM and RCOG headquarters
Kate Middleton and Princess Anne. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Kate Middleton and Princess Anne joined forces to highlight organizations dedicated to improving maternal healthcare.

The royal duo took part in their first-ever joint outing on Wednesday with a visit to the London headquarters of the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists — of which Anne and Kate are respective patrons.

During their visit, Kate, a mother of three, and Anne, a mother of two, heard about the ways in which the RCM and RCOG are working together to improve maternal healthcare, ensuring women are receiving the safest and best care possible at one of the most significant times in their lives.

For Kate, who suffered from severe morning sickness during her pregnancies, the issue is especially poignant. Over the past several years, the Duchess of Cambridge has done a lot of work on behalf of early childhood development, which has been inspired by her own experiences as a mother.

The Princess Royal And The Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Maternal Healthcare Organisations
Kate Middleton and Princess Anne. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

In a roundtable meeting, the two princesses took part in a discussion with experts and new moms about the measures being taken to tackle inequalities in maternity care. And they were shown some of the pioneering work being done to improve essential gynecological skills at a local level and worldwide.

"What struck me was the way their Royal Highnesses were both interested and very curious about what we were doing and asked very personal questions — very much about looking after future generations and looking after mothers of today for the benefit of women and children of tomorrow," Dr. Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, tells PEOPLE.

Kate Middleton, Princess Anne
Kate Middleton and Princess Anne. Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty

"I don't think you needed for them to be mums to benefit from today," Morris says. "But I'm sure having been mums and brought up children at very different times gave them a lot of ability and internal knowledge to ask questions that really helped the conversations to flourish and impart some of their feedback to things we might benefit from. For example, the Princess Royal was very interested in our work in Ukraine — clearly based on her experience with charities like Save the Children. It was wonderful to hear them talking from some of their own experiences as much as the keenness and very clear thirst to learn what the two colleges are doing."

Adds Gill Walton, CEO of the Royal College of Midwives: "The Duchess of Cambridge has a lot of interest in mental health and early years and we've been doing collaborative projects around that. The Princess Royal is really knowledgable about all aspects of midwifery and maternity care."

In 2020, Kate got personal about her experiences during childbirth, revealing that she turned to "hypnobirthing" for all three of her deliveries. While battling hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness she had during each pregnancy, Kate says she took it upon herself to learn about the birthing method.

"I got very bad morning sickness, so I'm not the happiest of pregnant people," Kate said in a revealing interview on the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast in February 2020.

Kate welcomed son Prince George on July 22, 2013. His sister Princess Charlotte followed on May 2, 2015. Younger brother Prince Louis was born on April 23, 2018. The royal mom had all three of her children in the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital in London.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arriver at the RCM and RCOG headquarters
Kate Middleton. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

As she's learned more through her research and in teaming up with various charities and organizations, she's come to realize that she would have done things differently during her own pregnancies.

"I feel huge responsibility because what I've learned over the last few years is so fascinating and I definitely would have done things differently, even during my pregnancy, than I would have done now," she revealed during the podcast interview.

Kate Middleton, Princess Anne
Kate Middleton and Princess Anne. Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty

During their visit on Wednesday, Kate and Anne also met with representatives from Tommy's National Centre for Maternity Improvement to learn about the digital tools that are being developed to identify and support women with high-risk pregnancies.

And they were introduced to key health teams of the Avoiding Brain Injury in Childbirth (ABC) collaboration focusing on the safety of fetal wellbeing during labor, and the way in which the experiences of mothers and clinical staff alike are informing this approach.

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

Kate Middleton, Princess Anne
Princess Anne and Kate Middleton. Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty

Every year, the Royal College of Midwives celebrates and rewards outstanding achievement and commitment with the RCM Awards, and the royal women congratulated recent recipients on their inspiring work.

At the end of their outing, the royals were greeted by three local schoolchildren, who handed Anne and Kate flowers. The Duchess of Cambridge told them to say hello to their school friends from her.

"They were really happy to meet us. And Anne asked if the flowers smelled good," 9-year-old Shia tells PEOPLE, adding, "It was really nerve-wracking, but when they came we just felt really happy. We were telling each other to smile the whole time."

Related Articles