Kate Middleton Opens Up About 'Isolation' She Felt When Prince George Was a Baby

The couple lived in Wales while Prince William was in the Royal Air Force, which often required overnight shifts and periods away from home

Kate Middleton is speaking out about the “isolation” she felt as a new mother.

The 38-year-old royal spoke with workers from a children and parents center in Cardiff, Wales, on Wednesday as she promoted her new groundbreaking survey on the early years of kids’ lives. She and husband Prince William lived in Wales when they were first married, where he was stationed with the Royal Air Force.

“It’s nice to be back in Wales,” Kate said. “I was chatting to some of the mums. It was the first year and I’d just had George — William was still working with search and rescue — and we came up here and I had a tiny, tiny baby in the middle of Anglesey. It was so isolated, so cut off. I didn’t have any family around, and he was doing night shifts. So…if only I had had a center like this.”

The mom of three was visiting the innovative Ely and Careau Children’s Centre in an economically challenged area of the Welsh capital, where parents can get support as well as enroll their kids into the kindergarten.

“I see amazing work you’re doing here in so many areas,” she said. “It’s just bringing it to light. The critical work you’re doing has a massive social — and economic — impact later down the years.”

The Duchess of Cambridge
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Kate was talking towards the end of a visit In which she had played with babies, crouched down and chatted to toddlers playing “shops” with real vegetables and shared chat about the challenges facing parents and carers. It was part of her fact finding tour to promote her 5 Big Questions survey.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Tour Australia And New Zealand - Day 1
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One of the center’s workers talked about how they tried to accommodate the concerns of parents who have questions raising their kids “this way or that way.” Kate said with a smile, “That’s why I wanted to do the survey. Unless parents are supported, it makes the job that much harder.”

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton. GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images

Outside she even headed into one of the children’s play huts — called Cath’s Cottage — to enjoy playtime with the center’s guinea pigs.

“They are so happy in there,” she said. “It’s like their own little world.”

Kate Middleton.

Earlier, she met little River Rowson, 3, who was playing greengrocers with some pals. He was showing her some Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli. “Are you cooking too?” she asked as he offered some vegetables. “Are you going to make a stir fry?”

River clearly liked his new pal. “You’re my friend,” he told her, to which Kate replied, “You’re my friend too.”

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton. GEOFF CADDICK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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Class teacher Rachel Fulthorpe tells PEOPLE, “She was really lovely, interested in the children. She got down to their level to speak to them in an age appropriate way. She was really friendly.”

In another class, she helped wipe a little girl’s hand. The center’s manager Carolyn Asante looked over and gave her the ultimate compliment: “You’ve got a job — when can you start?”

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