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The Duchess of Cambridge headed to Wales to attend a baby sensory class

By Simon Perry
January 22, 2020 06:43 AM
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Kate Middleton is hitting the ground running on her 24-hour tour of the U.K. on behalf of kids.

On Wednesday, the royal mom of three headed to Cardiff, Wales, to attend a baby sensory class at the innovative Ely and Careau Children’s Centre and hear about the support that parents receive.

She arrived in a long camel-colored coat by Massimo Dutti over a black turtleneck, accented by a gold necklace with a round pendant. Underneath her jacket, she sported a $12.99 leopard-print midi skirt by Zara, which is now sold out.

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

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.

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.”

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The Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton
| Credit: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

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.”

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

Kate also opened up about how helpful a center like this would have been when she was a new mother to Prince George.

“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.”

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton
| Credit: GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images

Head of Centre Carolyn Asante said parents and children alike were thrilled by Kate’s visit.

“It’s lovely to have someone who understands children and child development,” she said. “She really made the parents and children feel at ease which was lovely.”

She added, “Our children quickly gauge people who are genuinely interested in them and if they’re not they just won’t bother with them.”

Asante added that Kate even helped wash a child’s hand that was covered in sand. “I said, ‘You’ve got the job,’ and she said ‘I wish!’ ”

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Kate Middleton

Kate started her mini tour in Birmingham on Tuesday afternoon, where she said, “I’m here today to help launch a survey to hear society’s views about raising the next generation. Parents, carers and families are at the heart of caring for children in the formative years so that is why I want to listen to them.”

“As a parent, I know how much we cherish the future health and happiness of our children. I want to hear the key issues affecting our families and communities so I can focus my work on where it is needed most. My ambition is to provide lasting change for generations to come.”

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton
| Credit: GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images

Run by the Royal Foundation that Kate heads along with husband Prince William, and conducted by Ipsos MORI, the new survey aims to spark what Kate’s office calls a “national conversation on the early years.” She hopes that the results will also guide her future work as she strives to give children the tools and foundations to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton
| Credit: GEOFF CADDICK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

It is the latest development in eight years of work by Princess Kate. In that time she has immersed herself in hearing real-life experiences of children and carers and learning how experiences in early childhood can lie at the root of many of the toughest social challenges people face.

The Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton
| Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images

David Holmes, chief executive of the charity Family Action (which Kate joined for some pre-Christmas fun in December), adds, “Every parent, carer and family wants the best for their child and raising the profile of the vital early years in a child’s life is work of national importance. The insight this survey will give the early years sector valuable direction in designing and delivering services and support which reflect what matters most to people.”