The Duchess of Cambridge started her day on a farm in Northern Ireland before traveling to Scotland to spread the word of her new kids' initiative

By Simon Perry
February 12, 2020 12:13 PM
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Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty

Kate Middleton has taken her mission to help young children on a 300-mile journey from a farm in Northern Ireland to the north eastern Scottish city of Aberdeen.

In a whirlwind day, the royal mom of three popped up in Aberdeen at the Social Bite café. There, she spoke with employees, volunteers and customers who have experienced homelessness so that she could hear about how experiences in the early years of life can have a significant effect on challenges faced later on.

Kate’s visit to Aberdeen was another opportunity to promote her survey called “5 Big Questions on the Under Fives,” which kicked off earlier this month. Conducted by Ipsos MORI for Kate and Prince William‘s Royal Foundation, the survey aims to spark a national conversation on the early years that will ultimately help bring about positive, lasting change for generations to come.

Kate has now completed her tour to promote the survey. Following visits in England and Wales last month, she heard from locals in Northern Ireland and Scotland about how experiences in the early years can have a significant impact on later life. The final day of her nationwide tour comes as the number of responses to her survey reached 200,000, making it the biggest ever survey of its kind conducted in the U.K.

Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty

“Over the last eight years I’ve had the privilege of meeting people from all walks of life, facing all sorts of challenges. What has struck me most is that so often the challenges people face in later life, whether mental health, homelessness or family breakdown – can so often be traced back to experiences in their earliest years,” Kate said.

Kate Middleton
| Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty

“It prompted me to delve deeper into the early years landscape and learn more from the experts, the scientists and the amazing people providing services on the ground. But now is the time to get the views from everyone in society,” she continued.

“I wanted to hear directly from people across the U.K. and it’s great to have been able to talk to people in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and across England about their experiences. I want to thank the 200,000 people who have filled it out because each and every response will help show us what society really thinks about raising the next generation. I am excited to hear from even more people before it closes on 21st February.”

She made a stop to Social Bite, which has several cafés throughout Scotland. The organization has become a big success, gaining many famous fans, including George Clooney. But royal watchers will be familiar with it because Kate’s brother-in-law Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visited the one in the Scottish capital Edinburgh (about 128 miles south of Aberdeen) two years ago.

Kate Middleton
| Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty

The network runs social enterprises across Scotland and distributes over 140,000 items of food and hot drinks to people experiencing homelessness or poverty each year.

Earlier in the day, Kate made a previously-unannounced trip to Northern Ireland to meet with locals.

Princess Kate, 38, was given a tour of the farm in Newtownards by the owners of the Ark Open Farm before she spoke to local parents and grandparents about their experiences of raising young children.

Wednesday’s visits were the latest leg in her bid to get to the four corners of the U.K. It begun in Birmingham and has taken in Cardiff, London and Surrey, just outside the capital.

Kate Middleton
| Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty

The results of the survey — which is running for a month — will help guide Kate as she maps out how she can help young people and their caregivers and parents in the coming years and decades.

“I have listened to experts, academics, practitioners and service providers who work every day to make our families and communities stronger,” she said at the launch. “I wanted to dig deeper to understand issues we face and how best to tackle them together.”

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It comes at a busy time for Kate, 38, and husband William, 37. They have just announced that they will visit Ireland for three days in March and are likely to be factoring in a tour to Australia’s fire-ravaged areas too.