Duchess of Cambridge visits a parental support project in London

7 months ago
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The Duchess of Cambridge showed her caring side with children today as she got stuck into a cooking lesson when visiting a community parental support project in London - ahead of her appearance on Cbeebies. 

Looking typically stylish, Kate, 40, donned a smart grey Catherine Walker blazer as she arrived at PACT (Parents and Communities Together) in Southwark, to learn more about how communities can support parents and their families with their mental well-being and improve the health and development outcomes for young children.

Keeping her locks wavy and loose, the royal completed her look with a black top and £125 LK Bennet trousers cinched at the waist with a matching belt, while adding a touch of glitz with a pair of drop pearl earrings alongside a dainty £160 Astley Clarke necklace.

Proving she's all for taking part, mother-of-three Kate joined in with a food prep session, making fruit kebabs with toddlers during a MumSpace playgroup cooking workshop.

The duchess - who also donned £535 Gianvito Rossi 'Piper' suede pumps - said she wished she had been able to attend a similar group when she was a new mother to her first child Prince George, saying she would have 'learned a lot'. 

Kate's visit comes after it was announced that she will become the latest famous face to settle down and read a children's book on Cbeebies Bedtime Stories - with the royal narrating one of her favourite children's books, The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark, by Jill Tomlinson, in a programme to be broadcast on Sunday. 

Check her out! The Duchess of Cambridge appeared in good spirits today as she visited a community parental support project in London - and interacted with children during a cooking workshop

Adorable! The Duchess of Cambridge entertained one fascinated young child during her visit to PACT by pulling  funny faces

Joining in! The Duchess of Cambridge made fruit kebabs with toddlers as she took part in a cooking workshop during a visit to a MumSpace playgroup (pictured)

All smiles! Kate (pictured during a cooking workshop) visited the centre to learn more about how communities can support parents and their families with their mental well-being and improve the health and development outcomes for young children

Beaming: The Duchess of Cambridge chatted with a youngster called Joy during a cooking workshop at PACT in London today

Meet-and-greet! The beaming Duchess of Cambridge is greeted by organiser Mena Amnour during an official visit to PACT today in Southwark, London

Storytime with Kate! The Duchess will narrate one of her favourite children's books, The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark, by Jill Tomlinson, in Cbeebies Bedtime Stories on Sunday

Set up by Citizens UK in 2014, PACT is a community-led social support project which aims to build a confident, resilient community of parents who can give their children the best start in life whatever their circumstances.

It was initiated in Southwark after parents, community and faith leaders identified mental health issues and isolation as the biggest challenges impacting on their ability to parent and give their children the best start in life. The project has since expanded to Leeds and Newcastle. 

The Duchess met volunteers and attendees of PACT Southwark’s weekly MumSpace group, which provides a welcoming space for local parents to discuss relevant issues and work through any challenges they are facing. 

MumSpace is one of many activities run by the organisation to reach parents who might not otherwise have access to support. 

Kate also met a health visitor who regularly attends the group to provide advice and signposting to other services, before joining a cooking workshop with parents and children. 

Josephine Namusisi-Riley, who leads PACT in Southwark, and health visitor Simonette Guerra described how the course dealt with the importance of the early years, including brain and language development and play.

‘As a new mum I would have liked that,’ the duchess said. ‘I think I would have learned a lot. The importance of play.’ She added: ‘What's so fantastic is seeing the amazing work that's going on here. That support you're providing is amazing. The science backs it up.’

Kate helped two-year-old Jonathan - who was wearing a smart shirt and celebrating his birthday - chop up his banana. His grandmother Grace told her that the sessions featured ‘a lot of children and many, many toys’. 

Helping hand: The Duchess of Cambridge interacts with a child named Joy during a cooking workshop at PACT in Southwark, London

Taking part! Looking typically stylish, mother-of-three Kate, 40, donned a smart check grey blazer as she arrived at PACT 

Looking stylish! Keeping her locks wavy and loose, the royal completed her look with a black top and trousers cinched at the waist with a matching belt

All about the accessories: Adding a touch of glitz to her sophisticated check blazer, the Duchess (pictured right, interacting with children during a cooking workshop) sported a pair of drop pearl earrings alongside a dainty £160 Astley Clarke necklace

She means business! Kate (pictured) met families at the activity and wellbeing session run by PACT (Parents and Communities Together) in Southwark, south London, on Tuesday

The duchess (pictured taking part in a cooking workshop), a champion of research into early childhood, met mothers and youngsters to hear of the challenges they are facing 

Cooking with Kate! The elegant Duchess of Cambridge gets stuck into a food prep session with youngsters at the centre

‘Has it helped your relationship with him?’ Kate asked, breaking off to say ‘Good job’ to the youngster who was eating nicely.

Going to shake the hand of one mother, she laughed: ‘Sorry, now I've got a sticky hand,’ before pulling a face of amazement at Zoe, a nearby one-year-old, who was busy eating strawberries. ‘I can see why everyone likes it here,’ Kate added.

Kate watched children climbing up a frame to go down a slide, and accepted a 'cup of tea', full of kinetic sand, from a boy called George. Playing along, she took her mask off for a pretend sip before saying thank you and passing it back to him.

The duchess spent time with Laura Barber, mother of two-year-old Rebecca, who talked about mental health and the challenges of parenting in isolation. Ms Barber said: ‘She said if she had had something like this, she would have appreciated it too.’

By creating local support networks and providing reliable connections for families, PACT helps to combat isolation, support parental mental health and engage a number of hard-to-reach communities to access health and social services. 

The project works on a parent-led approach which involves listening to parents’ needs and working on solutions together, empowering them to make change within their own communities.  

In her element! The royal mother-of-three appeared completely comfortable as she chatted with the youngsters at the cooking workshop

Deep in concentration: The Duchess of Cambridge speaks with a representative as she arrives for an official visit to PACT

Plenty to smile about! The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured left and right) looked thrilled to be on the engagement in London

Getting on famously! The Duchess of Cambridge was all smiles as she chatted to families attending PACT today

Kate, who has set up the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, focuses much of her charity work on early childhood and how it affects outcomes in later life. Pictured, the Duchess meeting members of PACT

Keeping her cool! The Duchess of Cambridge calmly speaks with a mother and child during a cooking workshop at PACT

Through her work over the past decade the Duchess has seen first-hand how some of today’s hardest social challenges have their roots in the earliest years of a person’s life.  

The Duchess has long been committed to raising awareness of the importance of early childhood experiences and of collaborative action in order to improve outcomes across society.

Meanwhile, yesterday it was revealed Kate will read a children's book on Cbeebies Bedtime Stories in a programme to be broadcast on Sunday.

The mother-of-three, who enjoys reading The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark, by Jill Tomlinson, to children George, eight, Charlotte, six, and Louis, three, dressed down in jeans and a £179 Fair Isle Jumper from Holland Cooper for the TV appearance. 

It was filmed in January at Kensington Palace to mark Children's Mental Health Week, which runs until Sunday. 

Kate is following in the footsteps of A-listers like Tom Hardy, Suranne Jones, Dolly Parton and Captain America's Chris Evans, who have all brought their star power to Bedtime Stories, much to the delight of parents watching with their children. 

The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark tells the story of Plop, the Baby Barn Owl, who learns to overcome his fear of the dark through encounters with a host of friendly characters.  

Prince Charles WILL live at Buckingham Palace: Royal will move into main residence when he becomes King... and William and Kate may move to Windsor as courtiers plot housing merry-go-round 

Prince Charles will move into Buckingham Palace when he becomes king – with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge potentially taking over Windsor Castle.

In recent years there has been speculation that the official London residence of the monarch will become a 'working hub' for the monarchy, with no members of the Royal Family in residence, and opened up more to the public as a visitor attraction.

But the Daily Mail understands that the Prince of Wales is 'firmly of the view that it's the visible symbol of the monarchy in the nation's capital and therefore must be his home'.

'There is no question about it,' a source revealed yesterday. 'HRH's view is that you need a monarch at monarchy HQ. This has never been in doubt.' 

Prince Charles will move into Buckingham Palace when he becomes king – with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge potentially taking over Windsor Castle (pictured in May 2020)

Anmer Hall in Norfolk (pictured in 2013), the country retreat used by the Duke and Duchess Of Cambridge

Clarence House, the London home of Prince Charles and wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

It has been repeatedly reported that Charles has decided not to relocate to the Palace when it is ready to be lived in again and he accedes to the throne. But sources have told the Mail this is 'categorically untrue'.

'The Prince of Wales will not move into Buckingham Palace before he is king. But when he is, he absolutely will,' a source said.

'Just like the Queen, it will effectively be in the 'flat above the shop'. He feels it is right, just as the Queen does, to work out of Buckingham Palace.

'The Palace will still be a working and entertaining hub and will also still be open to visitors. It is a hugely important tourist attraction. But the prince can still live there at the same time, much like he does at Highgrove, which is also open to the public.'

Charles, 73, and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, currently live in Clarence House, the former London residence of the Queen Mother. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh also lived there in the early years of their marriage.

Prince Charles, 73, and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, currently live in Clarence House, the former London residence of the Queen Mother

An aerial view of Windsor Castle, for 1,000 years the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and the home of Britain’s royalty

It is likely to be turned into a work or entertaining hub – with a view to one of the Cambridges' children living there in the future.

William and Kate will keep their domestic and work base at Kensington Palace. They have lived there in Apartment 1A since 2017.

The couple also have Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, given to them by the Queen.

Sources said they believed the couple will ultimately inherit Windsor Castle. It is likely Anmer Hall will revert to the Queen or her heir, who would rent it out.

Clarence House declined to comment.

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