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British RoyalsThe Cambridges

The Patron’s Picnic: The Duchess of Cambridge welcomes children to her garden

The summer sun shone on Hampton Court Palace on Monday as the Duchess of Cambridge visited her Back to Nature Garden, now part of the Hampton Court Flower Festival, along with some special guests.

The duchess looked very much in her element as she hosted a picnic for her patronages and showed children from Hampton Hill Junior School around the garden. The green space, which she co-designed with Andrée Davies and Adam White, was originally part of the Chelsea Flower Show.

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Guests from the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Evelina London, Action For Children, and Place2Be joined Catherine to explore the garden, which has some new features since it was transferred to Hampton Court Palace. These include a rolling hill, bug hotel, hidden burrow, and a bee-friendly wildflower meadow, designed “to stimulate engagement with nature and free play,” according to Kensington Palace.

Some of the features were highlighted on Kensington Palace’s Twitter account, like the den’s camo net made out of compostable materials by the Royal School of Needlework, based at Hampton Court Palace. Coincidentally, the school also worked on the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress.

Catherine spent plenty of time interacting with the children, and Hello! reported that when an eight-year-old girl from the Anna Freud Centre called Khareesha was having a shy moment, Kate spotted her and took her into the garden’s den for a private chat. Khareesha told the magazine, “I am shy and she said that’s where she goes when she’s shy – in the tent.”

Activities included a treasure hunt and bug spotting, and the duchess giggled as a young boy held a magnifying close to her face during their bug expedition. The event was a continuation of Catherine’s work with early childhood development and nature, and how getting outdoors can improve children’s health.

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The 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,” according to Kensington Palace.

About author

Kristin is Chief Reporter for Royal Central and has been following the British royal family for more than 30 years. Kristin has appeared in UK and U.S. media outlets discussing the British royals including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Sky News, the Associated Press, TIME, The Washington Post, and many others.