Kate Middleton and her family used to vacation in the area when she was a child

By Erin Hill and Simon Perry
June 11, 2019 12:14 PM
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Kate Middleton is right at home on the farm!

Kate and Prince William traveled to the mountainous region of Lake District (where Kate spent happy childhood vacations) on Tuesday to talk to farmers — and get their hands dirty by helping with a bit of sheep shearing.

After William expertly sheared a sheep while Kate looked on, it was the royal mom’s turn.

Grabbing the shearing clippers from the instructor, Kate listened to the instructions and asked, “So, turn it on?” The instructor quickly showed her the ropes, and Kate replied, “Yep,” and went for it.

The sheep began kicking wildly as she started to shear the animal, but she didn’t flinch or lose her grasp once. She even looked up and smiled as the crowd laughed.

Shearing is a necessary practice, and doesn’t typically hurt sheep — it’s just like getting a haircut. Wool continues to grow if not shorn, making the sheep uncomfortable. It can even lead to skin sores and damaged fleece as the wool causes the fleece to felt on the sheep’s body.

Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge
Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/AP Images
Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton
Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton and Prince William
| Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/AP Images

Earlier in the visit, the royal couple met with farmers to hear about some of the key challenges they are facing. Farming and agriculture on some of the most challenging terrain in the U.K., and the income from millions of tourists drawn to Lake District — which was named a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2017 — are the key industries in the county of Cumbria.

Kate and her family used to vacation in the area when she was a child. Earlier this month, she wrote a note that was posted during the Chelsea Flower Show that said Lake District was a place she loved to go “boulder hopping” when she was growing up.

Last month, Kate collaborated with the Royal Horticultural Society to design “Back to Nature”-themed garden to highlight the benefits of playing outdoors — which is something she has passed along to her three children.

Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton and Prince William
| Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/AP Images

“I believe that spending time outdoors when we are young can play a role in laying the foundations for children to become happy, healthy adults,” she said.

During her visit on Tuesday, Kate said she and William have brought their kids to the area before.

“She said that her children love coming here and walking in the fells,” Jack Mumberson, 11, from Ireby Church of England school, said. “She told us how nice the Lake District was and how lucky we were to live so close to the mountains.”

Princess Charlotte and Prince George
Prince George and Princess Charlotte
| Credit: Matt Porteous/Kensington Palace via Getty
royals-d
Prince William and Prince Louis
| Credit: Matt Porteous/PA

Kate’s kids — Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis — were not far from her mind as she chatted with some of the local moms, including asking how old a 10-week-old boy named Harry Graham was as he was cradled by his mom Laura Johnson — who were among the 1000-strong crowd in the main square.

“She was brilliant with everyone. She was asking a woman how old her baby was and then said that with Louis so much bigger now, you soon forget how small the baby was,” Jen Casson, of Thursby, Cumbria, said.