Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Kate Takes 5 Big Questions Tour To Northern Ireland & Scotland

Today, the Duchess of Cambridge took her 5 Big Questions tour to Northern Ireland and Scotland. It follows engagements in London, Woking and Cardiff in recent weeks to promote the survey and to hear from people across their UK about their views on early years. In excellent news, the engagement coincided with an update from Kensington Palace revealing 200,000 people have participated making it the biggest open survey of its kind in the UK to date.


Kate was welcomed to Belfast by Democratic Unionist Party Leader Arlene Foster. In a tweet, she said "lots of excited children....and adults" were awaiting the royal visit.


For her first solo visit to Northern Ireland, Lady Carrickfergus (as she's styled when visiting NI) began the day with a visit to Ark Open Farm near Belfast, to speak with families about themes covered in the survey.


I'm a very firm believer in the importance of royals travelling across the UK and connecting with communities and forging bonds with people who very rarely see a member of the family visiting their town of city. It was great to see today's visit focusing on that and involving locals.


Upon arrival, it was time to meet some of the excited children Kate heard about when she landed.


Kensington Palace said: "The Ark Open Farm opened in 1990 as one of the first open farms in Northern Ireland. Having initially specialised in rare breeds of farm animals, the farm has now developed a number of play areas and activities for children. Open farms such as this are important in providing places in the community for family members of all generations to spend quality time together, while allowing children to benefit from spending time outdoors."


The Ark Open Farm is a family run business with a team filled with animal lovers striving to offer the best care to animals and visitors alike.


The Belfast Telegraph reports:

'Owner Stewart Donaldson who runs the popular family attraction with his wife, Lorraine joked that he had been warned beforehand that there is one particular Ark Farm resident the Royal wasn't keen on meeting - a snake.
Mr Donaldson told Belfast Telegraph that he was delighted to welcome the Duchess of Cambridge to Ark Open Farm in what is a very special year for the family-run farm.
"It's our 30th anniversary. We're all very excited. It was quite a job keeping her visit secret. We had only 10 days notice," he explained. "We have a plaque which Kate will unveil to mark our 30th anniversary."

When it was time to meet Sophie the corn snake Kate said "Wow". She told the children "It's the first time I've ever held a snake".

Kate seemed rather taken with this alpaca.


Kate joined a group of children to feed a lamb.


During a chat with parents, Kate was interested to hear their thoughts on children's earliest years and experiences.


The Duchess heard about the most important factors that ensure children become happy adults and the role of parents and society in ensuring children have the best possible start in life.


Kate met Education Minister Peter Weir and discussed her early years work.


Before leaving, Kate met a number of families. She thanked them for participating in the survey and said "It's really interesting to get everyone's perspectives" and told two children "Charlotte and George will be very sad not to have met you and see this really cool farm".


A video from the engagement.


From there, the Countess of Strathearn travelled to Aberdeen, Scotland.


Kate visited Social Bite café to speak with employees, supported volunteers and regular customers who have experienced homelessness.


Kate got to work in the kitchen and tried her hand at making a chicken wrap.


The Telegraph reports:

'The duchess asked Social Bite co-founder Alice Thompson: “Have you found examples of how an individual’s childhood has affected them, leading them to where they are now?
“You obviously see a lot of issues close up, people who come into the cafe to perhaps reach out and you help them. “It’s a really big thing to be able to do that and understand everyone’s story and the journey they are on.”
Ms Thompson said: “Oh absolutely, it’s such a massive factor in what we see in our work and we see so many of the same patterns emerging all the time.”
The Duchess rolled up her sleeves in the basement kitchen to try her hand at making one of the site’s most popular dishes - a chicken wrap. Ms Thompson announced “We’ll have to get you on the rota” to which Kate replied “Well I was taught very well”.'

When Kate sat down with a group of people involved with and supported by Social Bite she said "So often, many issues are caused by family breakdowns and that can have a huge effect on a child’s development in their early years."


Hannah Furness reports Kate discussed the "many issues caused by family breakdowns" that can impact someone from childhood through their adult life. She praised the work of the organisation and the "advantage" it offers.


Social Bite runs social enterprise cafés throughout Scotland and use this platform to distribute 100,000 items of food and hot drinks to homeless people each year, as well as employing staff who have experienced homelessness themselves.


A group shot before Kate returned to London.


There's a great video of the visit below with plenty of footage from the kitchen (as wraps were prepared) and a glimpse into the many conversations Kate had today.


The Duchess shared a message to thank all those who have participated thus far:

'What has struck me most is that so often the challenges people face in later life, whether mental health, homelessness or family breakdown – can so often be traced back to experiences in their earliest years.
It prompted me to delve deeper into the early years landscape and learn more from the experts, the scientists and the amazing people providing services on the ground. But now is the time to get the views from everyone in society.
I wanted to hear directly from people across the UK and it’s great to have been able to talk to people in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and across England about their experiences. 
I want to thank the 200,000 people who have filled it out because each and every response will help show us what society really thinks about raising the next generation. I am excited to hear from even more people before it closes on 21st February.'

Now, a look at what Kate wore today.


The Duchess wrapped up in her Barbour Defence jacket for her visit to Northern Ireland. It's been a staple in Kate's wardrobe for years. Middleton Maven notes a new version of the classic style is available at Saks Fifth Avenue for pre-order.

In Scotland, the Duchess changed into her Reiss Delaney Jacket. The grey jacket is from the brand's AW13 Collection and retailed for $520 before selling out.  It's a collarless, wool-rich coat with seam detail to the front, back and sleeves, with slit pockets to the front, and fastens with a single concealed button.


Kate first wore the piece during a visit to Shooting Star Hospice in 2013.


Kate's new blue jumper appears to be the Pure Collection Cashmere Roll Neck Sweater (with thanks to Kate's Royal Closet). The £125 piece in 'Heather Cornflower' is available at Next and on the Pure Collection website. It's also available in several colours at John Lewis.


Kate wore her Penelope Chilvers Tassel boots.

And accessorised with a new pair of Catherine Zoraida earrings (another great ID from Kate's Royal Closet). The Gold Fern Hoop earrings retail for £165.


If you haven't participated in 5 Big Questions, you can still do so by clicking here.

60 comments:

  1. What a surprise! I totally love "casual Kate"!
    Federica

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    1. And Kate wears periwinkle blue to perfection. New colour for her working wardrobe.

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  2. What a lovely morning too see the duchess in surprise outing

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  3. Wow great surprise I love Kate’s casual dress She always is spot on for the occasion Can’t wait to see more details Well done Charlotte picking up on this unscheduled visit so fast xx

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  4. Love how engaged she is with the children & her interest in services for them

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  5. I have no idea if this is the correct sweater, but in my opinion, Kate's sweater looks a lot like this one: https://us.falconeri.com/product/ultra-soft-cashmere-long-sleeve-turtleneck/166358.uts?productVariantId=399759&parentCategoryId=50001&categoryId=50031

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  6. Can anyone identify Kate's black jeans? Kate does casual wear to princess better than just about anyone.

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    1. Completely agree Anon! Kate's casual looks are so relatable, and love how she uses repeats when she transitions looks, she makes it all seem effortless! Would be curious to know the brand of her black jeans as well! Especially nice surprise to see Kate championing her cause in Ireland and Scotland!! :) cc

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  7. What a great outing. She looks lovely.

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  8. Like the blue very much. Yesterday's outfit had no color. I missed it.

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    1. Agree! With that said I am a bit surprised to see Kate in Reiss again. I thought she´s stopped wearing it for good after what happened around the brand (just as with Marchesa).
      Ella

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    2. Ella, I know people have strong feelings about this, but for me it would be a huge waste not to wear a perfectly good coat that she already owns.

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    3. What's the matter with Reiss? I do not know enough about fashion to keep up with all the polemics...

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  9. As much as I love the jewels, glitz and glam I really like seeing Kate dress as the people that love her do. I like seeing the casual, practice side of her.

    And I like the cause she’s promoting here too.

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  10. Love that grey or is it lavender jacket but not the skinny jeans with it. She looks lovely in the color of the top!

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  11. Hah! When I woke up this morning and saw that she was in Belfast, I said that she'd need to go to Scotland next as it's the only country in the UK she hadn't yet visited on her Early Years initiative. And here she is. I love how her security was dressed in blue jeans :) My daughter spent a year in Aberdeen many years ago working on her Horse Masters certificate. She loved it. The Scots side of our family comes from near Inverness.

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  12. Kate is so busy nowadays, I Love it!

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  13. Wow I recognized those earrings as Catherine Zoraida as soon as the first pictures of Kate came out. That shows what happens if you’ve been following Kate’s style for the past 9 years lol.

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    1. Lol, you are right on! It is fun to follow Kate, isn't it?

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  14. Caroline in Montana12 February 2020 at 19:07

    for some reason the first picture where she is looking right at the camera and waving makes me think she knew the photographer and was almost dare I say happyish to see them?? not sure why I get that impression, something about the look on her face like she is not just looking at a stranger?!

    I hope you are all seated - But I seriously actually really like this look!! The top heaviness of the coat and the bottom heaviness of the boots pair so well with (as y'all know my super duper all time least favorite clothing trend EVER) skinny jeans! ***gasping heard around the world*** yup I actually said it, I hope everyone's ok after that shock (it might take me a few days!) and able to make a full recovery, lol :) I think its because the coat kinda covers her rear and the boots come up so tall that the jeans aren't really a main focal point. the new earing's are nice but remind me of others she already has. not overwhelmed by that gray jacket she changed into later in the day either. Like the blue/periwinkle sweater, but blue (like yesterdays event) is such a great color on her.

    Love seeing her with kids and adults alike. I feel like this is a great initiative that will be long term lifelong for Kate and the country. Love how they play the long game, William could not have chosen better!! Think its great to go to NI and Scotland, would like to see her more all over the UK as well and so probably would the UK?!

    Any chance we would see the kids or get a new photo before Louis's birthday? he must be so big by now. I know that's probably not going to happen though!

    Side Question: Is there really no handrail down the stairs to that plane? disembarking would have made me nervous!!

    Thanks Charlotte! Have a good day everyone:)




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    1. If you look at the first photo, you can see the railing for the steps in the foreground of the exterior photo. That being said, I have seen photos where Kate has navigated steps in high heals, and it is impressive.

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    2. If you look at the bottom of the photo, there is a child, and I bet that's who she was waiving at. The photographer got a great photo, but I don't think she was waiving at them. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how it appears to me.

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    3. You did make me laugh, Caroline! 😃The fact that you liked Kate's look in sk.j. (not to upset you!) was almost as surprising as seeing Kate again today!
      Great engagements, and I liked both looks.
      Kate is so natural talking to people, young or old, distinguished or homeless... she makes everybody feel at ease. This is one of the things I like most about her: she has respect for every person she is with and she is a good listener.
      The farm is such a great place! If I could go there, feeding the lamb from the bottle would be my Number One thing, while holding the snake wouldn't be on my list at all 😖🐍😳 Kate is a brave girl!!

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    4. Caroline in Montana12 February 2020 at 22:29

      Thanks Guys, I looked again and saw the handrail!

      Zora, glad you had a laugh, but then the picture of the café was added with the drab gray coat and short botties and I had to go back to my original sk.j stance, lol:) Im not sure you could get me to hold a snake either, but the farm looked amazing!

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  15. Nobody wears casual clothing as beautifully as Catherine does!

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  16. I had a exhausting day at work, so what anice surprise to come home and seena unannounced Kate visit and such a fun one.

    I haven’t read everything yet, but I just love the cornflower blue/purple sweater she is wearing. I wish it would find its way to my cupboard.

    Just a question, wouldn’t Kate be Lady Carrickfurgus in NIreland? The way I understand it Baroness Carrickfurgus would mean she holds the title in her own right, while Lady Carrickfurgus indicates she is married to the Baron Carrickfurgus. Hopefully somebody with more knowledge of the peerage abd titles will weigh in.

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    1. Rachel, you're right and it's a mistake I make every time :) It is Lady Carrickfergus. There's so much confusion around it.

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  17. DoC looks well put together, as usual.
    I wanted to comment on that delightful dragon/dinosaur coat on the little on in the first Arc/Ark shot.
    I know a few children who'd love one of their own...

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  18. Rhonda - Wisconsin12 February 2020 at 21:23

    I really like both of these events. Kate is engaged, interested, kind and not afraid to dig right in. She is so impressive in how much she learns and how she's tying together how events in the early years affect people. I just absolutely love the Heads Together, Shout and Early Years programs that both her and William are supporting - it is so good to see the attention being drawn to mental health. We are seeing more of this in the US, but in my opinion, not nearly enough.

    I loved both of Kate's outfits today - very fitting for the events that she attended. She's so much fun to watch.

    Thanks Charlotte for a great post!

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  19. Favorite picture of the day, Kate with the two little boys laughing! cc

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    1. That was my favorite one, too.

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  20. Another fantastic outing for the Duchess of Cambridge. She is in her element: children, animals and out on the farm. Thanks, Charlotte.

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  21. Personally, the most impressive thing for me today was that Catherine held the snake 🐍!!! I liked both of the outfits, very fitting for both the location and the types of events.

    And wonderful news regarding the response to her survey!

    Border Terrier lover :-)

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  22. I love Kate's casual workwear. My favorite piece is the gorgeous blue cashmere sweater. It's such a flattering color. She could easily have chosen a neutral sweater - and I'm so glad she didn't!

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  23. The sweater with the gold earrings looked wonderful!

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  24. I love HRH Catherine & her work (mental health! children's hospice!) SO much. She is so beautiful - these past two days have been a miss for me, with the exception of the Barbour. I suspect she is just at-home in more country clothes. The jacket looks like one I wore in the late 90s. Yesterday's outfit looked like a villain in a movie set at a children's boarding school (like a mean headmistress). She needs to look to Queen Leticia (Spain) or Queen Maxima (Netherlands) to see how women older than her manage to look professional but fresh. That said, kudos on the work and the outreach within the UK!

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    1. MizBev in Colorado13 February 2020 at 20:40

      I'm not real sure why she needs to look to anyone. She wears what she wants and seems to get away with it for the most part. Leticia and Maxima are two completely different women. Kate should just be Kate and we should be glad for that.

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    2. Queen Letizia maybe, but too many times Queen Maxima goes for Natan and I hope I never see the Duchess of Cambridge in Natan.

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    3. Kate have a completely different personality, role and the UK is very different from the Netherlands or Spain.
      Having said that Max have a queen “look”, just like Kate has her princess look. The main difference is that Max is an aquired taste, when she brings it she really brings it, but when it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work big time. Kate might not excite the way Max does, but she never disappoints.

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    4. IMO Kate is tasteful, Maxima opulent and Letizia chic.
      They have a definite, recognisable and personal elegance.

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    5. Perfect distinctions Natacha!!

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    6. Very well said Natasha. I would have gone with
      Maxima - exuberant;
      Letizia - chic;
      Kate - classic.
      But it is the same idea.

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  25. So Much To Take In!!!..... All I Can Say For Now Is...... Go Kate Go!!! lol :) xx
    Today was absolutely Brilliant! Amazing! I'm sure I'll be back to say more after I've digested it all a bit. Thanks Charlotte for your trademark stellar coverage! xx

    Becca USA

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  26. Both outfits look great. Love the jackets, she looks terrific.

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  27. I live in the US and I admire the Duchess work with young children and the early years. My son suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was 22 months old. I noticed changes with his development and temperament from the time of his injury. I fought the medical community and his school district for 8 years before I was able to get him tested. My son's diagnosis include cognitive disorder, ADHD, language and anxiety disorder and math and reading dyslexia. I love the way she shines a spotlight on many organizations that help the children and their families.
    I love her sense of style, it's really fun to window shop.

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  28. I really enjoyed these events today. I agree wholeheartedly that royal visits to areas outside the "big cities" is vital. Also, I feel that one of the strengths of a constitutional monarchy is that royals have the time and resources to visit as many communities as possible.

    I've enjoyed Kate's engagement with the Early Years 5 Questions initiative. I think she shines when she has a cause and narrative that she can relate to.

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  29. Thank you Charlotte. Was the grey jacket also worn at a rugby match? I am thinking 2015?

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  30. Hello. I read somewhere, I think People but I’m not sure now, that the survey has had 200,000 UK respondents so far. Have you seen this specification anywhere. Charlotte? After many critical comments on this blog about the survey being open for anyone I think this would show that they do have a system to know where replies are coming from.

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    1. Catherine talked about it during her visit. Charlotte notes the following above:

      The Duchess shared a message to thank all those who have participated thus far:


      'What has struck me most is that so often the challenges people face in later life, whether mental health, homelessness or family breakdown – can so often be traced back to experiences in their earliest years.

      It prompted me to delve deeper into the early years landscape and learn more from the experts, the scientists and the amazing people providing services on the ground. But now is the time to get the views from everyone in society.

      I wanted to hear directly from people across the UK and it’s great to have been able to talk to people in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and across England about their experiences.

      I want to thank the 200,000 people who have filled it out because each and every response will help show us what society really thinks about raising the next generation. I am excited to hear from even more people before it closes on 21st February.'

      Border Terrier lover :-)

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    2. I know, but what I wonder is if more people completed the survey but only 200,000 were from the UK. I know for sure that people from other countries have completed it because they’ve shared it on social media. The fact that in a couple of articles it was explicitly stated that there have been 200,000 UK based respondents so far makes me think that the data are being filtered out somehow to focus on the British replies. As several this aspect of the survey was criticized by some posters on previous posts I wonder whether this is true or not.

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    3. I could do the survey outside the UK, and more than once is possible. So I don't get why she is pushing inside the UK thing. Unless, she was talking about her chatting with people in different places she had visited.

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    4. The question is do they filter the answers to determine the number of the replies from the UK? I suppose they can use cookies for statistics?

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  31. My face is very red! I meant high heels. I do not know where my brain is some of the time. Oops!

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  32. Duchess in her element. She seems so pleasant and has a seemingly gentle soul. Love the work she’s doing.

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  33. What are the second pair of boots worn in Aberdeen?

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  34. A royal tour of Chile and Columbia would be quite interesting. I hope it happens.

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  35. Interesting little article about yet another beind the scenes effort by Kate for her '5 Big Questions' initiative. Love that Kate is using all media forms available to get the word out there. Wonderful initiative with a great effort and start.

    https://www.itv.com/news/2020-02-14/duchess-of-cambridge-says-childhood-experiences-shared-with-her-amazing-granny-inspires-how-she-raises-children/?fbclid=IwAR1R4G__zgtE8AZy4KAWZd01p48r9DJq7CT-ftYEXnn0-K4XEcsCqAAmI7s

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  36. So wonderful to see a surprise engagement for the continued cause she is very much focused on! I loved the two engagements. The animals were adorable and you can tell she thoroughly enjoyed that. Loved her comfortable clothing choices. Graceful as ever no matter what she does.

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