The Duchess of Cambridge has written to her local branch of the Women’s Institute (WI) expressing her interest in joining, reports over the weekend say.
Dorothy Pulsford-Harris, President of the Anmer WI, had previously written to Kate last year to invite her to join. This weekend, the 70-year-old former barrister said she had received a letter back from her private secretary saying The Duchess was interested.
Kate and her husband, Prince William, recently moved into their country retreat, Anmer Hall, with Prince George and the new Princess Charlotte, after she was born in London earlier this month.
The branch is part of the Anmer Social Club, of which membership costs £5 per year and is open to all. Meeting one evening a month, the WI is a short walk from the couple’s 10-bedroom Georgian manor house.
The Duchess will join a long-held royal tradition if she does join the Institute. The Queen Mother was President of the Sandringham WI, a role she passed to her daughter The Queen, who became a member in 1943 and attends one meeting a year – usually featuring a celebrity guest speaker – during her annual Christmas break on the 20,000-acre Norfolk estate.
The Duchess of Kent, who previously lived at Anmer Hall, had been a member and had “always been made very welcome”, Mrs Pulsford-Harris said. Other royal members include The Duchess of Cornwall, Countess of Wessex and the Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, is also an associate member.
The Princess Royal will accompany The Queen, and The Countess of Wessex to the Royal Albert Hall on 4 June as the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) celebrates its centenary.
The Chairman of NFWI, Janice Langley said she would be “delighted” to welcome Kate into its ranks, adding: “‘The WI has a long tradition of Royal members. The WI is made up of all kinds of women, of all different backgrounds and ages, which is what makes it so special.”
The Federation has long campaigned to change its traditional and stuffy image – it is frequently associated with knitting and jam-making activities along with renditions of the hymn ‘Jerusalem’. In a bid to welcome younger members, the Glastonbury WI branch is pitch up at the famous music festival this year, warming festival goers with a good old cup of tea.
At 33, Kate would be one of Anmer’s youngest members with Pulsford-Harris saying that currently their youngest was in her “mid-40s.” Kensington Palace have declined to comment on the matter.
The Duchess has shown herself keen to integrate into local community life. At Christmas, the family attended the local church carol service and have often been spotted shopping and using the facilities that the village offers.
The family will be based at Anmer Hall as Prince William takes up his new job as an Air Ambulance Pilot in June. The Duke, who took two weeks paternity leave for Charlotte’s birth, is currently in Switzerland attending the United4Wildlife Taskforce talks.
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