Thursday, 13 June 2019

Duchess Kate Makes Blue Peter Appearance To Encourage Families To Spend More Time Outdoors

How many of you have fond memories of watching Blue Peter growing up? I certainly do, and I imagine it was a staple growing up in the Middleton household. The landmark children's programme has been entertaining youngsters since 1958. Following Kate's 'Back To Nature' garden at RHS Chelsea, the Duchess wanted to encourage more children to participate and knew the perfect way to access a large audience was to join forces with the iconic show to launch a very special competition. The entire segment can be viewed below (don't miss keen young gardener George Hassall taking the lead dividing Kate and presenter Lindsey Russell into teams).

When Kate arrived, it was time for pond-dipping and den building, which she described as "massively up my street". Kate told presenter Lindsey "It encourages creativity, confidence and even a short amount of time, 10-15 minutes outside makes a huge difference to physical well-being but also to our mental well-being". The Duchess added George, Charlotte and Louis are "dragged outside, rain or shine" to play outdoors. In Cumbria, Kate revealed she took the children to the Lake District for three days over half-term. The segment was filmed on 30 April, the Court Circular notes Kate visited Sayers Croft Wildlife Garden and Forest School that morning.

More from The Telegraph:

'Joined by a small group of school children at Westminster City Council’s Paddington Recreation Ground, she first helps them with a spot of pond-dipping, and is shown a figure-of-eight technique to best catch wildlife in a net.
"I didn't realise there's an actual technique,” she said, before asking her young friends what they have caught before. Told about their favourite tadpoles, she asks: “Do you know what tadpoles eventually turn into? Have you ever seen any froggies?”
When one girl carefully picks up a newt for a closer look, the Duchess praises her bravery with an admiring “wow”. A second task sees her under the instruction of George Hassall, an RHS young gardener of the year and Blue Peter regular, to plant flowers in “upcycled” containers including colourful wellington boots and old colanders.
“They're good gifts as well, aren't they?” she said, in a hint at how the Cambridge children may be spending their pre-Christmas playtime. “You can do something quite fun.”

More from the BBC: "The Duchess wants to highlight the benefits of the great outdoors and inspire children, families and communities to get back to nature. She is a strong advocate for the importance of early years and the positive impact that nature and the environment can have on childhood development. In the Blue Peter film Her Royal Highness talks about her passion for the great outdoors and how she enjoys getting outside with her family whatever the weather."

During the visit, Kate planted her own Dianthus Barbatus, more commonly known as a 'Sweet William'.

The appearance marks the official launch of a competition with the aim of encouraging families to get outdoors. Young viewers are asked to design a sculpture which will form part of Kate's Back To Nature garden when it arrives at RHS Wisley in September. In addition, the winner will have the opportunity to meet the Duchess. The winning submission should be made from natural materials, include a design element for play or interaction and a paragraph on the thought process behind it. It's open to 6-15 year olds. 

To inspire families to spend more time enjoying nature, the Duchess created a selection of outdoor activity cards to accompany the garden. Two runners-up will also get to design their very own Blue Peter activity card.

The Leaf Wand card encourages children to make their very own wand decorated with beautiful coloured leaves, feathers or fallen petals.

Click here to view all the activity cards.

At the end of the segment, Kate was thrilled to receive her 'Green Badge'. You might recall William and Kate received their Gold Blue Peter badges (Kate wore hers today) in December 2017 for an appearance they made in support of children's mental health.

For the Blue Peter outing, the Duchess wore her Troy London Tracker jacket. Kate first wore the piece publicly on Tuesday for engagements in Cumbria.

And accessorised with her Kiki McDonough Lauren leaf earrings.

For outdoor activities, Kate chose a pair of Superga Cotu shoes in 'Sherwood Gum' (with thanks to Middleton Maven). They retail for £50 on the Superga website. 

It was a treat to see Kate's efforts to inspire families to spend more time outside continuing. I'm sure George, Charlotte and Louis were tickled pink to see Mum on Blue Peter :)

See you Monday for Order of the Garter!


  1. Rebecca - Sweden13 June 2019 at 20:51

    What an absolutly charming watch! Kate is so good with children!

    This was my comment after the trailer last night which still holds today: I love that Kate has made this Blue Peter appearance! As I've understood it Blue Peter is like a staple in British television so it seems like a great choice for a TV program for a royal to be involved in as well! She sounds so confident and comfortable in these clips! She's really in her element with both kids and nature! And how clever to involve "the public" in a design choice to make the next garden different and also extend/add some coverage about it! Very cleverly done.

  2. Shantel (@FashionandFaith)13 June 2019 at 20:55

    I LOVED the video clip! Kate looks like she was totally in her element: outdoors, relaxed, with children! She seems so natural—so at ease in these types of environments.
    I need those shoes in my life...looks like I’m going shopping!
    Thanks for the fun post, Charlotte. Looking forward to Order of the Garter!
    Minnesota, USA

  3. She's such a natural around kids! And she sounds so nice.

    I've never heard of Blue Peter but it looks nice and entertaining.

  4. Wow brilliant to see Kate on blue peter She is determined to get her message across re the outdoors. Kate is so natural with kids and the outdoors Kate looks fab too x

  5. Tammy from California13 June 2019 at 21:44

    LOVE ALL OF IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love the outdoors, I love her patronage for mental health (everyone benefits!) and I love her!

  6. Zora from Prague13 June 2019 at 21:57

    Great! I wish kids everywhere would do these things, leaving their mobiles and iPads etc.etc. at home for a while!
    I loved building both dams and dens as a girl, I loved doing it with our sons and honestly, I'm starting to look forward to doing it with our grandchildren (hopefully) one day! 😄
    Well done, Kate!

  7. Loved this segment and was so great to see kate with the children! But one thing that’s been confusing me lately is how much softer her accent is now? She was so super duper posh a year or 2 ago. Completely not a criticism just an observation has anyone else noticed?

    1. She still speaks with the posh accent when making speeches. I suspect the posh accent is something she subconsciously (or consciously) adopted when moving around in aristocratic circles. Odd because William doesn't speak with that sort of accent, although Diana did.

      This is a kiddie segment and Kate is probably speaker with closer to her actual every inflection and accent because adopting a super-posh accent to play with a bunch of kids on TV isn't the natural or appropriate thing to do.

      But it might also have to do with this "confidence" thing that people talk about with Kate since her return from maternity leave: she's done more engagements in her comfort zone, and seems more willing to be herself. I do remember a time when Kate at engagements would body block people by holding her clutch in front of her and look down constantly. There's so much less of that now and I wonder if it's her choosing engagements that interest her, or her simply being more comfortable in her own skin.

    2. I personally have always felt that part of the “poshness” was also her nervousness. I feel like she would sometimes kinda catch her breath or by trying to speak clearly it came off as very clipped.
      I know my nervous voice sounds very different. I attribute the change in just her growing and feeling a bit looser and more comfortable with being herself while being watched.
      I was going to comment on how much I’m enjoying seeing her come into her own. She does seem very genuine and kind.

    3. I find the super duper posh accent still comes through when she is nervous, mostly when she knows the cameras are on her, like pre-recorded videos.
      I think she felt she needed to sound posh to fit in with her royal surroundings. There was lots of rumours that she went for elocution lessons early in her marriage. And for the first 5 or so years we never heard her speak.
      Now that she is more secure in her royal role she might not feel so self conscious any more.
      Especially this clip where she is talking to the kids and forgetting about the cameras. Hence the softer accent.

    4. I know my voice changes when I speak in front of a large audience. I hadn't noticed it actually, even now I know,I keep doing it unconsciously.
      You never know what your voice is really like, and it is always strange when you listen to it.
      I think most people change their voice depending on their interlocutor.

    5. Often when people are a bit nervous or formal and trying to articulate clearly the underlying accent becomes more obvious and extreme. Suspect both ways of speaking are natural for her and not learned after she was older but developed in her home and early childhood friend/school settings.

    6. Valerie in Arizona14 June 2019 at 16:27

      Public speaking is so fraught. I have been a Toastmaster for 25 years but since moving to this small town in Arizona, my current club has chided me quite a bit for “dropping my voice”. Huh? I don’t even know what that means. I do know that my natural speaking voice is very light, almost childlike. At 60 years old sometimes when I would order something they would ask if I were old enough! So I understand Katet’s voice issues with public speaking. She isn’t a trained actress and I find that men usually don’t get criticized as much for their public speaking as women do. That’s changing though thank goodness. Also men don’t tend to pitch their voices higher when making a point or speaking to children. In fact it’s my impression they lower their registers. Sorry for blethering on, it’s a subject I find so interesting.

    7. I have a bit of a theory. I forget how Kate was considered so "common" when she became engaged. She really had so much focused on her, so think how scary it was to even move, let alone speak. She probably had more confidence before she became engaged, before she came under the scrutiny of everyone. I think the emergence of other "commoners" to marry into the RF, like Autumn and Mike and Jack and, of course, Meghan, has relaxed that entire generation.

      Before I realized what the "press" was all about, before I read this blog, I would read about the "fights" between Camilla and Kate, the awful things the Queen said to Kate, and on and on. Of course, not at all true, but just part of the lies put out there. But she had to have all those stories put out there. It hasn't gotten any better, as the current stories attest to, but at least she's not the sole focus, but more like a member of the club!

  8. Royal 👑 Watcher13 June 2019 at 23:28

    This is fantastic!

  9. Hmm the duchess catherine have soft and natural spot with kids i love the message of the duchess

  10. Peregrine 30 Boston MA14 June 2019 at 02:47

    Oh my word...this was so genuine and real! I am such a Duchess follower and so love and admire EVERYTHING she does, but this is beyond special. Bravo Kate, and thank you Charlotte for giving us such another wonderful glimpse into her amazing and fascinating life!

  11. Enjoyed the clip and reading all the info. Thanks, Charlotte.

  12. I have watched the video, and I love it! Kate is so very nice and charming! She has an easy way with children and adults. I loved how she said it had been an honor.

  13. Kate really impressed me with the kids. Not so the host - I felt her constant praising the children for doing quite ordinary things to be a sign of the times... My personal opinion is praising children overmuch makes them less adept at handling failure, and as such could well be contributing to the rising mental health issues children face today. I think Kate hit the right note, firm and friendly - a ”well done” here and there - and really enjoyed watching her interact with the kids.

  14. Love the shoes and love the activities. She looks like she's having a great time. Messing around outdoors is really fun and those activity cards look like they would encourage anyone.

    1. I agree Allison. Those activity cards are so well done and very encouraging. I am so impressed with the scope of her 'outdoor initiative', she has really taken it to the next level, it's no longer just an interest or an idea, it's an action. I love her interaction and hands on participation, not only with the children, but obviously behind the scenes. I know she's looking to achieve rather than impress, but she is nailing it on both counts IMO. The picture of her smiling at the young girl is so endearing, and in the video she is even surprised at the resourcefulness of the children, 'where are you getting these logs?'!!:) Very genuine and really well done. cc

  15. Thank you for posting the activity cards! Looks like fun. I'm going to do the activities with my children this summer.

  16. How absolutely wonderful.... can't seem to find the words....

  17. Am I the only one who thinks this the wrong Leaf earring in the pic...?

  18. Wonderful Kate! Wish I always have her fun energy!

  19. Thanks for this fun post, Charlotte. Delightful video. Really enjoyed watching all the children and Kate. She's really in her element.


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