Kate Middleton Surprises School Children with a Picnic at Chelsea Flower Show
The Princess of Wales made a surprise stop at the world-renowned garden show in London on Monday
Kate Middleton is picnicking with school kids.
The Princess of Wales, 41, joined the children at Chelsea Flower Show in London on Monday. Princess Kate surprised the guests at the world-renowned garden show by joining children from 10 different elementary schools on the lawns by the bandstand.
The picnic, under a large horse chestnut tree, is part of an effort to bring gardening and nature into the lives of more children — something Kate has been passionately promoting for several years. Students from the 10 schools are participating in the Royal Horticultural Society's Campaign for School Gardening.
At one point, a little boy from Alex Reed Academy raised his hand — just like the classroom! — to ask Kate a question. "They've all been so polite," a teacher says.
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Ten-year-old Romasia told reporters that she and the Princess of Wales connected over the joys of growing fruits and vegetables. "We spoke about how fascinating it is to see how food grows. We talked about strawberries and how it takes time for them to grow and how rewarding it is to eat them then," the student says.
After their lunch beneath the tree, Kate led the kids to some of the show gardens. The princess and the children checked out the outdoor kitchen at The Savills Garden, a blend of ornamental and edible planting designed by RHS gold medalist Mark Gregory.
Kate then moved to The Samaritans Listening Garden, where another group of students awaited her. The Samaritans Listening Garden is designed to be a safe space for people to share their challenges and struggles. There, beautifully sculpted oak seats provide places to talk and listen or reflect on conversations.
Next, she met with another group of youngsters at the Royal Entomological Society Garden, where they saw an "insect eye view" of the landscape designed by RHS Chelsea gold medal winner Tom Massey. Above the garden is a roof inspired by a compound insect eye made up of permeable "modules" for insects to enter.
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In the Royal Entomological Society garden, Kate refrained from signing her name when the excited kids from St. Mary's Church of England School asked for her autograph. Instead, she scribbled a picture of some bugs. "She was very calm," Sarah Caulkner-Matton from the school.
Simon Ward, CEO of the Royal Entomological Society adds, "She was really interacting with the children — she was amazing talking to them about the insects and what they enjoyed spotting."
The garden theme is showing how insects are important to us and how humans are key to insects thriving and surviving, he told her. "She thought it was a fantastic space. Kids are enthused by insects and she was picking up that enthusiasm," says Ward.
The party embarked on a bug hunt, and the royal mom joined the youngsters in planning a home-grown meal and learning more about how gardens can support well-being.
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Kate's latest outing is part of her ongoing effort to highlight the benefits of outdoor play and follows a week of events promoting well-being. The Princess of Wales' visit to the Chelsea Flower Show was something of a throwback to her own "Back to Nature" garden, unveiled in May 2019. Then, she brought her husband Prince William, and their children Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, to experience the fun of outdoor play for mental health.
"In recent years I have focused much of my work on the early years, and how instrumental they are for outcomes later in life," she said in a statement at the time. "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."
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