“Did we meet any of your families yesterday?” Kate asked a small circle of service men and women. “I hope they enjoyed it. It was very kiddie-friendly. I think some of the grandparents felt slightly bombarded.”
Kate added that the children “had a lot of sweets by the end of the day. We felt quite responsible.The sugar highs … there were a lot of marshmallows. Did they get back [home] okay?”
She also noted the sacrifices the troops were making during the holidays. “Some of the children really understood what their mums and dads are doing and missed you all,” she said. “I’m sorry that we couldn’t bring your families with us for Christmas.”
Speaking to a second group, she disclosed she had tried to show her older children, 5-year-old Prince George and 3-year-old Princess Charlotte, the festive treats laid out for military families at Kensington Palace when they arrived home from school and nursery yesterday afternoon — but they were too late.
“We took the children down to where the party was but everything was gone,” she said. “They were so disappointed!”
Still, George was already looking forward to something else, William shared with a group of pilots.
“I told George this morning we were going to see the pilots today, and he said, ‘If you see a helicopter, can you take a picture?'”
The couple handed out gifts for personnel and later enjoyed tea and cakes with families living in the Cyprus military bases, asking children their names and ages and quizzing adults about life there.
“Are any of you football fans?” William asked at one point. After a look from his wife, he conceded: “I’m sorry!”
“You’re not going to find an Aston Villa fan everywhere,” an amused Kate chided him before William declared, “I’ve found one already, actually.”
Kate also made time for some more serious conversation, sharing some of her research into early childhood development and the importance of mental health.
“Is mental health something you guys are interested in as part of your work?” she asked.
“Some of the stuff we have learned has shown that everyone should have some sort of basic mental health training,” she said.
“I really want to get mental health training as part of teacher training, not just for the sake of the teachers themselves but for the children too.”