Kate reminded students that their anxious feelings during lockdown "are totally normal" and they "won't last forever"

By Stephanie Petit and Simon Perry
June 18, 2020 10:58 AM
Kensington Palace

Kate Middleton stepped into the role of teacher as she led an online school assembly on spreading kindness amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The royal mom of three led the virtual lesson for the Oak National Academy — an online classroom and resource hub created by teachers — focused on mental well-being and simple acts of kindness during the difficult time of lockdown.

"Today, I wanted to talk to you about the importance of being kind and looking after one other," Kate said to kick off the virtual meeting. "We all have our ups and downs especially when things change in our lives as they have in so many ways recently."

The Duchess of Cambridge acknowledged that everyone is experiencing a "huge range" of feelings brought on by not being able to see friends and family as normal.

"It's been a really difficult time for us all," she said. "But it's important to know that these feelings and frustrations are totally normal, and that they won't last forever. Talking to someone, whether it's a friend, family member or teacher, is something you can do to make yourself feel that little bit better."

Kate added, "And you can also play your part in helping others to feel better too — whether offering a friendly ear or helping someone in need. Small acts of kindness can go such a long way."

Kate, 38, spoke to the children about the acts of kindness they have done during quarantine and how the actions made them feel. She was very impressed by Olivia Jackson, 8, who paid tribute to healthcare workers by baking a cake that was filled with Smarties in the center, causing the candies to tumble out when the cake was cut.

"No way, that's ingenious," the royal exclaimed. "Good idea!"

Kate then asked Olivia how making the cake for someone else made her feel, to which the student replied, "Really proud."

"You should be really proud, absolutely. Well done, you," Kate said.

Kate also heard from pupils about their own moments of kindness, including sharing, tidying up to help their parents and treating others the way they would want to be treated.

"That's true, isn't it?" she said. "So many times when we do things for other people, it makes us feel really good about ourselves."

The royal asked them what kindness means to them, and some of the children shared photographs they had taken and submitted to Princess Kate's "Hold Still" photography project. One of its central themes is "Acts of Kindness."

After seeing art projects the children made with rainbows, the symbol of the National Health Service, Kate commented, "I think the NHS have been so proud, and they've been so grateful for all the acts of kindness that everyone in the country's been showcasing. Such a small acts of kindness can go such a long way."

"It was really lovely to hear some of the ways in which you’re all being kind to each other,” Kate told the children before signing off. "Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today. Look after yourselves. Reach out when you need help, and do your part to support those in need."

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Matt Hood, Principal at Oak National Academy, said in a statement that they were “thrilled” Kate was leading the assembly.

"Being kind and considerate is a vital lesson for children at any time, but especially so in the current pandemic. We must encourage young people to talk about their feelings and to know that it's normal to feel a bit anxious or upset right now," he said, adding that the royal's "Hold Still" initiative is a "fantastic way to get children engaging with their mental wellbeing as they think about what kindness means to them and how they can show it towards others.