Monday, 1 July 2019

The Duchess in Sandro Paris for 'Back to Nature' Hampton Court Visit!

The Duchess of Cambridge visited her RHS 'Back to Nature' garden at its new home, Hampton Court Garden Festival, this afternoon.


Following its success at the Chelsea Flower Show, the garden was transferred to RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival.


The garden retains its original elements, with a number of additions to accommodate the significantly larger display.


It now includes a bee-friendly meadow, a new pond for children to paddle in, and a hill. The updated design is the result of a collaboration between the Duchess and landscape architects Davies White.


Craftsmen from The Prince's Foundation Jonny Briggs and Jonny Anderson created the waterfall and wooden walkway. Charles' foundation is very much focused on communities, sustainable housing, traditional arts and skills and education.


The Royal School of Needlework created the den's camo net from compostable materials.


The Telegraph reports Kate visited last Tuesday to help with planting:

Kate told Jake Catling, director of the Landscaping Consultants - a bespoke garden construction business which built the garden: "I loved it. So many of them loved hopping over the stone and that's so nice to see." Mr Catling said after speaking to the duchess: "This was just a field and we brought in 18 articulated lorries worth of stuff in and we had a team of up to 20 people to build it."
He added that Kate had requested the path across the water feature for George: "We made the stepping stones because Prince George wanted them. The kids loved jumping across it and it was down to Kate we got that in."
The Duchess visited the site near Kingston in south-west London last Tuesday to help with the planting, and Mr Catling said she had been a useful member of the team. He said: "She was very hands on, it was fantastic. She came and did lots of planting and directing everyone around and got involved in the mulching."

Kensington Palace said: "As part of her longstanding work on Early Years, The Duchess believes that spending time outdoors plays a pivotal role in children’s future health and happiness. Her 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. Features like the hollow log and rustic dens will return from Chelsea, in addition to a new hidden burrow, rolling hill and stream. These environments enable children to develop skills for life through free play, building their confidence, strength, resilience and social skills. In addition to the physical and mental health benefits of being in nature, spending quality time with parents and carers outside has a valuable impact on children’s early development. In the garden, families can explore together and enjoy nature as a playground. There is a pond to paddle in, a bug hotel that provides habitats for all sorts of wildlife, as well as a bee-friendly wildflower meadow."


More from the RHS:

'Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, says: “It’s wonderful this collaboration with HRH The Duchess of Cambridge continues and carries on inspiring families to get together and enjoy the great outdoors and get back to nature!

“The impact of the RHS Back to Nature Garden at Chelsea resulted in a record month for RHS Membership, with over 12,000 people joining us in May to support our charitable work and get outside gardening. This is incredibly positive and shows how powerful this collaboration is, really motivating people to garden, grow and access outside space and nature, which is good for their health and also for the environment and for wildlife.

“RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival has a much more laid back feeling than RHS Chelsea and two children up to age 16 can visit free per paying adult, so we hope lots of families will come and join in the fun, be inspired and then go home and garden together.”

In addition to the 19,500 people who saw the garden, thousands more families will have the opportunity to visit 'Back to Nature. The festival is the world's largest annual flower show, stretching over 34 acres.


The show began in 1990, and has gone from strength to strength since. Loved by horticulturists and families alike, it takes eighteen months to plan each show and two hundred people to build and dismantle it. An average of 140,000 visitors descend each year and spend an average of five hours exploring.


Today is the preview day for Hampton Court Garden Festival.


To mark the occasion, the Duchess hosted a picnic in the garden for children from several of her patronages including Place2Be, the Anna Freud Centre, Evelina Children’s Hospital and Action for Children. Families. Carers and teachers were also invited to enjoy the garden and demonstrate the importance of their role in raising a child.


Nine-year-old Kane from Place2Be said: "It was beautiful. It was very creative. I chatted to the Princess Kate about making smores on a campfire. Kate said there were foxes in the garden which had left half eaten sandwiches." Ruby 10, added: "I thought it was a dream - can't believe I'm really here!"


Kate gave one little girl a helping hand as she navigated the rocks.


This little one really caught Kate's attention :)


Olivia, Henry and Riley from Action for Children’s services loved exploring the garden and dens.


Kate joined the children for a treasure hunt.


A fantastic time was had hunting for insects.


The Duchess with Millie and Miracle from Evelina London.


In a letter to experts revealed in May, the Duchess wrote: "In recent years I have focused much of my work on the early years, and how instrumental they are for outcomes later in life. 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. There are undoubtedly challenges in trying to bring about the transformation that will make positive change for generations to come, and help break the inter-generational cycle of disadvantage and trauma, yet I am inspired every day by the people I meet and am committed to supporting this endeavour. I hope my long-term commitment to working in the early years will help make a difference over a generational timescale."


The Duchess spoke to a little girl about feeling shy. More from Hello! magazine.

'Kate, 37, spotted that Khareesha James, eight, was feeling shy as they visited her RHS Back to Nature Garden and took the schoolgirl into one a fabric-covered den for a private chat and told she likes to hide in them when she is feeling shy.
Speaking afterwards Khareesha said: “I am shy and she said that’s where she goes when she’s shy – in the tent. Her mum Sophia Dowd told HELLO!: “Khareesha is very shy – she doesn’t talk too much to people – and she (Kate) took her over to speak to her. She was really nice with her.” Asked if the moment had helped her to feel better, Khareesha nodded yes.
Khareesha later showed her appreciation for the royal pep talk by presenting Kate with a potted succulent she had decorated with stickers during an activity session at the garden.
Kate also met Millie Allingham, eight, and her mum Nicky, who recently donated a kidney to her daughter at the hospital (sorry, didn’t ask when). Millie said: “I asked her what they (George and Charlotte) like in the garden and she said the waterfall. She (Kate) liked the waterfall and I liked it too. It was shimmering in the glowing light.”

Kate thanked the fantastic team involved in the creation of the garden.


Following the 'Back to Nature' installation at Hampton Court, it will move to its final destination - to form part of a new children's garden at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey. Many of the plants, trees, hollow logs, dens and the treehouse will become a permanent feature of the garden. We can expect to see Kate visit the garden there, where she will meet the winner of the Blue Peter competition launched earlier this month, asking children to create a sculpture for the garden.


It's been quiet a collaboration and process. It's excellent to see 'Back to Nature' being enjoyed by so many; Hampton Court is a much more family friendly location and many more children will have the chance to experience it.


I'm sure they'll love it just as much as George, Charlotte and Louis did!


Speaking of the Cambridge family visit to RHS Chelsea, Kate chose the same wedges and earrings for her engagement today. Middleton Maven notes the & Other Stories Ruffled Maxi Dress Kate wore for that appearance is available in all sizes on their US website.


A video packed with sweet moments.


The Duchess selected a geometric print dress by Sandro Paris today.


The £260 Printed Flowing Midi Dress is described: "This Sandro dress elevates a classic ladylike silhouette with contemporary prints and unexpected detailing. Falling to an elegant midi length, it features short sleeves and decorative buttons at the bottom of the neckline extending into a defined waist with delicate pleats." The dress is on sale at Harrods.


Sandro Paris was launched in 1984 by husband and wife duo Didier and Evelyne Chétrite. Inspired by her childhood in Morocco and her studies in Paris, Evelyne designs the women's collections. She focused on Parisian elegance, energetic prints and naturally cool pieces. Kate's sister Pippa has been an avid fan of the brand for years. The green geo print of Kate's dress features widely in the current collection. Below, the Short Printed Silk Dress and the Patchwork Printed Long Dress.


As noted above, Kate wore her Castaner Carina wedges.


And £8 Accessorize Polly Petal Drop earrings.


William and Kate will attend Archie's Windsor christening on Saturday. Wimbledon gets underway today, so I expect we'll see the Duchess at the tournament on at least a couple of occasions over the fortnight of tennis.

58 comments:

  1. Rebecca - Sweden1 July 2019 at 14:33

    I've been so busy getting settled after my move so have not gotten up the energy to comment but I really wanted to so here we go!

    So many nice things these past weeks, and especially these last days! New patronage! (Very fitting) Williams wonderful comments at the LGBT event! The tour! So excited for the tour! Todays engagement! I really like how todays engagement connects her other charities. Her work really works flawlessly togehter and I love how she shows how different facets of issues connect and that nothing in society exists in a vacuum!

    I hope they have a wonderful summers day together!

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    1. Good to hear from you again. Your comments has been missed.

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  2. Wow a surpise outing how i love the theme making the most childhood memory playing outside the park or nature nowdays kids these enjoy being at home and playing thru gadgets not natural way playing outside park or garden good job duchess catherine for bringing nature closer too our generation to exprience our kids back to reality playing at park and nature

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  3. Another surprise engagement :) How lovely that Kate is visiting the "Back to Nature" Garden at Hampton Court. I though that we were spoilt with all of the visits she made to the garden at the Chelsea Flower show and now this delightful.

    Kate really is on to something with this garden and the message behind it... just getting outdoors. Lately, I have been a bit overwhelmed at work with all the travelling and extra work-load. However, when I'm outside tending to my garden or taking a 40-minute walk, I really do feel as though everything is ok. I'm able to think things through more clearly, I reason my work load better and overall I just feel happier whenever I'm around nature and away from my electronic devices.

    Thank you Kate for re-inforcing this message to adults and children!

    Love Avee in SA

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    1. Ditto Avee!! The pictures of the garden are amazing and seeing the children enjoying and exploring the outdoors is inspiring! Absolutely LOVE Kate's message and her initiatives towards improving mental health through nature. It is a message for both children and adults for sure!! I too find that my garden is a great place for me to disconnect from the technology, and work load to recharge myself to stay mentally focused, and find my positive center. Also, studies show that sunshine has a huge impact on depression. We are meant to have exposure to sunshine, which triggers the body's production of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is known as "the sunshine vitamin" and while it helps with bones it also helps to improve brain function. I know I need all the help I can get :). Kate is lovely, as is her initiative. cc

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    2. CeCe, I agree with your statement about vitamin D. As a nurse at a nursing home, it is very beneficial to residents to be exposed to the sunshine and outdoors daily. Fresh air, sunshine and the beauty of nature is great for young and old alike. Kate looks great, and the children are just precious!

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    3. I agree with everything you said CeCe USA! Hopefully more kids and adults make the effort to get outside and enjoy nature. This is such an inspiring initiative from Kate :)

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    4. Zora from Prague3 July 2019 at 19:55

      CeCe, I love everything about this engagement too!
      Btw, how about your Arthur Ransome books? ;-)

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  4. Glad you're back, Rebecca. I've missed your positivity!

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  5. What Fun! Love the dress!
    XOXOXOXOX

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  6. What a wonderful surprise! I can't say I'm a big fan of Kate's dress, but it certainly looks nice on her. I am sure this garden will prove to be a success; the kids look like they are having a great time!

    I just had a question about the royal dress code. I was wondering how strict is is? I had thought it was pretty strict, but obviously the deep v-neckline was allowed, so I must be off the mark.

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    1. It depends on the occasion. The ceremonial events have a very strict dress code. But this is a casual event and Kate wearing a silk coat dress wouldn't have been appropriate. A summer dress like this is perfect.

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    2. Elise1 July 2019 at 16:05..it is a deep V-neck, but her breast are small so it still has that conservative look

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    3. Elise, I thought the same as you when I saw the dress. Kate looks put together as always, and the dress looks nice on her, but the style and pattern does nothing for me. I also wondered about the deep v-neckline. I was also surprised to see her wearing wedges. I wear a casual shoe myself if I'm going to explore parks and trails. I think a lower heeled shoe or even a sneaker, especially as Kate is standing on rocks with a little one, might have been more appropriate. I know she wore wedges when she showed the garden to her own children, and she can walk well in them, but I'd be nervous about slipping. Sartorial comment aside, it is another lovely engagement, and I do love to see casual Kate surrounded by children.

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    4. Elsie, The deep V of the neckline is acceptable because no cleavage is showing. On a fuller figured woman the neck line would show quite a bit, but not on Kate. I prefer this deeper V instead of the" buttoned up to the chin" look...especially for summer.

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    5. You can ignore almost anything you read about royal dresscode, it is made up by journalists that need to fill pages.
      Yes the more formal events have them, like military events and if HM attends, but for something like this the royal ladies make up their own with a few common sense guidelines.
      You don’t want to end up on the front pages because of a wardrobe malfunction (although that has happened to Kate and she survived it). Also I think it was QEQM that said, “people wear their best when they meet me, the least I can do is do the same.”
      Kate has always erred on the side of caution/conservative which I would also do if I know hundreds of cameras records every move. But once in a while she does try something different.
      I think te V neck suits her a lot better that the high collars she normally favour.

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    6. Her wedding dress had a fairly deep V-neck too. Kate can pull off the deep V pretty well. Like her, I have a small bust, and cannot wear any v-necks because they make my chest only appear flatter. The reason the v-neck doesn't work for me is because I have a small chest, small shoulders, and a very short torso. Kate has the advantage of a longer torso and broader shoulders.

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  7. Man she is busy....love the dress. She works well with nature and children

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  8. In the beginning, I wasn't sure about the garden idea but I'm all onboard now. I completely agree with Kate that nature is a powerful force; I have always been outside as a child and loved it. I wasn't sure if the message could get across, and I think with multiple showings of the garden, she made her point. I love that the garden had a meadow and pond added, although I don't really know how that happened, and I love that it will be a permanent garden later. And those kids must have had such a great time today!

    The dress looks so good on her and so bad on the unfriendly model! It looks like another dress that Kate would wear in her offtime, and I have always loved the different patterns she finds to wear.

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    1. Rebecca - Sweden1 July 2019 at 19:29

      I was a bit sceptic in the beginning as well. Not negative, just... not seeing why and what could be gained. But she has not only designed a garden. If that was the extent of it, I would not have seen the need. But she has worked so great around it, connecting the activity cards and charities and visits around it that I think it has tied very nicely into her all around work in a way that feels very natural and actually impactful.

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  9. She looks lovely and what a nice outing. The dress is perfect for the event.

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  10. Oh my gosh, I absolutely love this dress and she looks incredibly happy! I really love all of her outings with the RFS and children, absolutely her element. This is one of my favorite engagements to date, the Duchess absolutely lights up when she interacts with children and I cant get enough of these adorable pictures!

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  11. I don't understand how they move a garden?? But she looks fabulous and the garden in both locations was beautiful.

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    1. Rebecca - Sweden1 July 2019 at 19:30

      I assume it's a similar process as when you re-pot a plant into a bigger pot or something. In a much larger scale of course!

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    2. Possibly lots of raised (garden) beds as well. I use raised beds in my vegetable garden and with some professional help, I was able to relocate them to a sunnier part of my house :)

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  12. I love this dress, such a nice color on Catherine and the pleated detail at the waist really adds a nice bit of interest to the silhouette. I am sure the children who participated in the garden visit had a wonderful time! The garden space looks like such a lovely peaceful place to rest and be rejuvenated. I would so love to be sitting there right now! :-)

    Border Terrier lover :-)

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  13. Great outing! Love the dress. The teal is so summer and I guess the espadrille shoes will be her go-to summer casual shoe? Well it's a huge improvement over the brown socks. Most of all I love her relatively unstyled, natural hair. I always found those big blowouts with the curls to be a bit much for casual engagements.

    And she's really great with kids, but we already knew that.

    But when Kate likes a new fashion ... she REALLY likes it. Her newest thing seems to be midi-length print summer dresses with espadrilles. We're in for a long summer of these looks.

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  14. I would enjoy visiting the garden. It looks so relaxing and interesting. The waterfall would be my favorite too. The Duchess looks so confident and definitely in her element with the children and back to nature environment. She seems (I don’t know her personally) to be such a kind person. Thanks, Charlotte.

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  15. Always love her interaction with children. She is in her element, nature and kids.

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    1. PS The pictures with the children are beautiful. Love how she looks today.

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  16. Not wild about the dress, but Kate looks wonderful! She is blooming!

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  17. Valerie in Arizona1 July 2019 at 18:34

    What a sweet engagement! My husband and I are waiting for the shade to hit our backyard this afternoon so we can pot our patio roses. Roses do fairly well in our part of Arizona (long blooming time) but they do need to be watered often. But the smell takes me back to my childhood in Montreal, Canada. My mother loved roses and we had oodles of rose bushes. Oh and speaking of Canada--Happy Canada Day!!

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  18. So nice to see Kate again today. Great pictures from the engagement- you can tell from the smile on her face how much she enjoys being with children and spending time outside. She must be a very hands on mom, which is fantastic for George, Charlotte, and Louis. I don't love the dress itself, but I think she looks really great in it.

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  19. I'm not a big fan of the geometric print. But the low v-neck is very flattering and youthful! Love it overall!

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  20. Photos with Duchess and children are so precious. It 's wonderful to see their interaction. Definitely they had a great fun.

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  21. Rebecca - Sweden1 July 2019 at 19:26

    Kate and kids! Such a winning combination! Not only very cute, and she seems casual and comfortable when around them. She's also very very good with them. She's good at treating the children as the human beings they are, shown in how she respects their personal space and agency by asking before hugging and knocking before entering a tent etc. She shows respect for them and their personal sphere, and that is something even adults who are "good with children" sometimes forget. She's also accepting and encouraging with kids that don't fit the "happy and chatty" mold that people want kids to fit in. This quote from today that Charlotte so kindly posted above makes me so warm inside:

    Speaking afterwards Khareesha said: “I am shy and she said that’s where she goes when she’s shy – in the tent. Her mum Sophia Dowd told HELLO!: “Khareesha is very shy – she doesn’t talk too much to people – and she (Kate) took her over to speak to her. She was really nice with her.” Asked if the moment had helped her to feel better, Khareesha nodded yes.

    It's one in a line of many anecdotes and quotes about actions like these that Kate have shown. And it's so encouraging and inspiring!

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    1. Susan in Florida2 July 2019 at 02:13

      Nice to have you back Rebecca !

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  22. Another lovely dress for another lovely occasion. I just don't understand why the duchess chooses synthetic clothing. considering her concerns about the environment this doesn't make sense. I'm assuming she is not aware of this...? see this link https://www.greenpeace.org/international/story/6956/what-are-microfibers-and-why-are-our-clothes-polluting-the-oceans/

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    1. I have also wondered why big name designers would use synthetic material when I find natural materials so much more luxurious.
      The problem is natural fabrics don’t do well in photos because it wrinkles almost from the moment you put it on and that can easily look frumpy or unprofessional.
      I don’t know, just one possible reason.

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  23. She is do good with kids! A wonderful mother & wonderful with other children too! She has such a winning smile & cheerful personality. She seems like a delight to be around.
    P.S. Love her long hair! She looks so youthful & its beautiful. Shes one of the few people who can pull off such long hair. Maybe its easier for her because its naturally so so curly so the weight can pull some of the curls straighter and more manageable.

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  24. Kate certainly likes her green dresses to presumably blend in with the natural environment! Surprised she selected this particular style, however, with the low front: if I had been her, I would have been concerned at revealing too much when bending over.

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  25. I love Kate's hair today. I'm not crazy about the dress, but I love the shoes and the earrings.

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  26. Wonderful post, as always, Charlotte! You are *so* good including all the background information - best blogger, hands down!

    I was honestly so taken by Catherine’s interaction with the children that I didn’t pay attention to what she was wearing. 🙂 Their mutual delight with the garden was wonderful to see.

    Still hoping that sometime soon Kate will put on a “princess” dress and tiara, and have a big tea party for children. Can you imagine how fun that would be? ☕️

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  27. Royal 👑 Watcher2 July 2019 at 01:40

    I’m just amazed as to how you actually MOVE a whole garden!! That’s impressive. So many people and children get to enjoy it now, just lovely. Kate’s dress is really pretty.

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  28. Susan in Florida2 July 2019 at 02:12

    She looks the most happy outdoors. I never heard of bug hotels until I starting watching Monty Don’s programs on Netflix. Brilliant idea not just for kids but for the garden. My best memories of my paternal Grandpa was when he let us pick green beans with him in his vegetable garden. I love getting in the dirt and planting. I wish everyone a beautiful garden this summer , no matter if you have a pots in a window or a bigger piece of property. I loved her dress, casual to walk around , long enough to bend down to talk to the children, and dressy enough for meeting people and being in photos.

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  29. Royal 👑 Watcher2 July 2019 at 02:13

    I wonder what will happen to the garden after the festival. Wouldn't it be nice if it could be made a permanent fixture somewhere, like somewhere in the parks and gardens surrounding KP. for instance. A small entry fee would pay for its upkeep and many more children visiting London would get to enjoy Kate's garden!

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    1. It is even better than that, it will become a permanent fixture at a children’s hospital.

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  30. I was so happy to see that the guests were children from the Duchess's patronages especially the hospital, how uplifting for them to be out of the confines and with nature, better than any medicine. A children's wonderland, its so beautiful and well thought out. These days its all about electrical gadgets, nothing better than being outside in the elements, with nature, doing something so healthy not only physically but mentally. The Duchess has done exceedingly well, she has done a splendid job.

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  31. She’s ridiculously cute with kids. And I can’t wait for her to get bored with those shoes.

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    1. I agree--I really dislike those wedges. But seeing how much fun she has with kids is great. You can tell she enjoys being with them.

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  32. Courtney Providence Village2 July 2019 at 04:27

    I think she looks wonderful though i think it would’ve done well with one of her ponies. She fiddled with her hair a bit much with it down.

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  33. The garden really turned out to be an amazing platform. I especially love the idea of using it for kids from Kate's other charities. It makes so much sense.
    I am not adding this to my favorite looks on Kate, but what I appreciate is that she is clearly aware that being outside, playing with kids etc. requires for her to be active and involved so she chooses more practical and less expensive pieces or repeats (the shoes). It looks very down to Earth.
    Ella

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  34. I can’t stop looking at these pictures. She is so relaxed and natural. Sometimes at more formal outings, she seems a litttle stiff or maybe nervous is a better term. Her taking the shy girl aside was so thoughtful, as she is shy too. I feel this is her true personality. I love everything about her outfit . . . Even her shoes.

    Hope from USA

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  35. What a wonderful memory for all these children!

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  36. Tammy from California2 July 2019 at 18:08

    So many things:
    1: I really like this dress on her. I like the ruche at the bodice. It's so feminine.
    2: I have read in the past that some people would like to see Kate broaden her causes; that people get weary of her always being with children. I have to say I think what she said today hit the mark: she is impacting future adults. As trivial as gardening might seem, I believe wholeheartedly in this entire project. Although fun, nature is something that studies have shown to soothe the mind and soul. It has been therapy for many people with disabilities and I have seen this as a teacher and as an aunt of an autistic child. When I see Kate interacting with the children and guiding them to explore down to the tiniest bug, I not only love her naturalness in all of it, I think it is truly worthwhile. We may not see the effects of these initiatives until later in life, but I think they could be very worthwhile.
    3: If Kate hadn't of married William, she definitely would have made a fabulous elementary school teacher!

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  37. I am a huge fan of this dress on Kate, just love it. What strikes me most is how natural, relaxed and happy she is with these children. No teeth clenched smiles today. She's in her element. It's nice to see her on an outing she truly enjoys this much.

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  38. not a fan of the dress but love the earrings always nice to see kate thanks charlotte

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