The Duchess of Cambridge made the special request to the director of the Landscaping Consultants, who helped design her “Back to Nature”-themed space

By Joelle Goldstein
July 01, 2019 09:44 PM

Kate Middleton had a very special reason behind her most recent royal request!

Princess Kate, 37, who hosted children at the site at Hampton Court Palace’s Garden Festival on Monday, asked that a path of stepping stones be instilled in her play-and-learn space after her eldest son Prince George expressed interest in it, according to Hello! Magazine.

“We made the stepping stones because Prince George wanted them,” Jake Catling, the director of the Landscaping Consultants, told the local outlet. “The kids loved jumping across it, and it was down to Kate we got that in.”

But Kate’s 5-year-old son wasn’t her only child to help with the garden. The Duchess of Cambridge also revealed during the day that Princess Charlotte had a special hand in helping her find materials for the expanded garden.

Her 4-year-old daughter found pinecones, which Kate hid for the children’s treasure hunt on Monday.

“There are eight, Charlotte helped me find them,” Kate told the kids as they set out to find the pinecones using magnifying glasses.

Kate Middleton
| Credit: Matt Dunham/AP/Shutterstock
Princess Charlotte and Prince George
| Credit: Max Mumby/Getty

Though George and Charlotte weren’t present at Monday’s outing, the other children certainly appeared to enjoy the benefit of their contributions, as they played outdoors with the royal mom.

Kate’s nature-themed garden debuted at the Chelsea Flower Show in May, but it has now been expanded for its second location at the palace.

The Duchess of Cambridge, sporting a printed midi dress by Sandro, unveiled the space with children from some of her charities and patronages, including the Anna Freud Centre, Evelina Children’s Hospital, Action for Children and Place2Be.

They enjoyed the delights of the garden that had so enraptured her own kids by joining her in a treasure hunt and insect-spotting activity. Kate then hosted them in a picnic at the center of the garden.

Kate Middleton with children
| Credit: Shutterstock
Kate Middleton
| Credit: Shutterstock

The new space is twice the size of the plot that was used at Chelsea to inspire kids to play and enjoy the outdoors for the benefits that it can bring to mental well-being. The expanded garden adds in fun features to stimulate engagement with nature and free play, including a hill, a bee-friendly meadow and a pond to paddle in.

Kate’s garden “highlights how time spent in natural environments can help build the foundations for positive physical and mental wellbeing that last through childhood and over a lifetime,” her office at Kensington Palace said in a statement.

“Features like the hollow log and rustic dens will return from Chelsea, in addition to a new hidden burrow, rolling hill and stream,” the statement continued. “These environments enable children to develop skills for life through free play, building their confidence, strength, resilience and social skills.”

“In addition to the physical and mental health benefits of being in nature, spending quality time with parents and carers outside has a valuable impact on children’s early development,” they added. “In the garden, families can explore together and enjoy nature as a playground.”

Princess Charlotte and Prince George in the garden in May
| Credit: Matt Porteous/Kensington Palace via Getty
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Kate said last month that she wants her children to be outdoors in their garden “rain or shine,” encouraging them to spend time outside whatever the weather, believing “it encourages creativity, confidence.”

“Even a short amount of time — 10 to 15 minutes outside — makes a huge difference to both physical well-being but also to our mental well-being,” she said in a new interview on CBBC’s Blue Peter.

After Hampton Court Palace, the garden will be permanently located in its final place at the RHS garden at Wisley, in the Surrey hills southwest of London, in September.