Wednesday, 17 June 2020

UPDATED: The Duchess Leads Assembly on the Importance of Kindness

Someone said to me the other day our transition into lockdown and a new way of living was so swift, our return to normality will be a gradual one in baby steps. I think for many of us, especially those who are particularly vulnerable or in my own case with loved ones in that category, it's very much a slow and steady approach. For those of us in the royal watching community, we have adapted to 'seeing' the royals quite literally through a new lens: Zoom conversations and virtual engagements. We can now look forward to a return of traditional engagements, and the Royal family resuming their work schedules with social distancing in mind. Yesterday, several members carried out their first engagements across the country. Today, Kensington Palace shared an update from the Duchess who is leading an assembly tomorrow on the importance of kindness for the Oak National Academy. It was a virtual appearance, and I expect those to continue across the board on some scale for the time being, though I do expect we'll see Kate out and about very soon.

During the assembly, which was pre-recorded last week, the Duchess focused on the theme 'Spread a Little Kindness' whilst telling students: "Talking to someone, whether it’s a friend, family member, or teacher, is something you can do to make yourself feel that little bit better. And you can also play your part in helping others to feel better too, whether offering a friendly ear, or helping someone in need. Small acts of kindness can go such a long way. But as we help others, we must not forget to nurture ourselves, by taking the time to focus on the things that make us feel happy too."

The theme is based on a lesson plan by Mentally Healthy Schools. Developed in collaboration with Place2Be, it encourages children to discuss and learn about the benefits of kindness. Below, the Duchess at the launch of the Heads Together legacy project in 2018.

Kensington Palace said:

'Oak National Academy is an online classroom providing high-quality video lessons and free resources to parents and teachers. It was created in response to the lockdown, supporting teachers educating their pupils remotely, and since its launch has delivered over 12 million lessons to children and young people. Every Thursday morning, the academy, in collaboration with TES, hosts assemblies for students across the UK, allowing them to experience the normal routine of a school environment.
Matt Hood, Principal at Oak National Academy, said: “We’re thrilled that the Duchess of Cambridge was able to lead this week’s assembly on acts of kindness. Being kind and considerate is a vital lesson for children at any time, but especially so in the current pandemic. We must encourage young people to talk about their feelings and to know that it’s normal to feel a bit anxious or upset right now.'

As part of the assembly, Kate joined a video chat with students from Waterloo Primary Academy in Blackpool, whose parents are frontline workers . The children shared a selection of photographs they have taken and submitted for the Duchess's Hold Still collaboration with her patronage the National Portrait Gallery. Principal Matt Hood continued: "The Duchess’s Hold Still competition is a fantastic way to get children engaging with their mental wellbeing as they think about what kindness means to them and how they can show it towards others."

A reminder there is still time to submit your entry. They will be accepted until 6 pm tomorrow. Click here to find out more. Below, 'The School of Nature' by Stacey Leanne Connell who shared a photo of her son: "This is our six-year-old. Here he is outdoors, showing the Union Jack he created with finger paints and a pillowcase. This has a handprint rainbow to show the support to the NHS on VE Day."

The Duchess wore the very pretty Marks & Spencer Printed Yoke Midi Waisted Dress (with thanks to Caroline Parr and Katie's Royal Love). The blue mix dress is described: "Take style inspiration from country gardens with this cabbage-print dress. Frilled, slightly puffed sleeves and an elasticated waist add structure to its breezy shape. Midi length with a round neck and short sleeves." The dress is currently available in sizes 6-24 for £39.50/$69 on the Marks & Spencer website.

The floral dress is part of presenter Holly Willoughby's collaboration with Marks & Spencer.

Holly has been a longtime admirer of Kate's style. The Duchess chatted with the presenter and her co-host Philip Schofield last month to mark the launch of Hold Still.

UPDATE: The full assembly is now available to view online.


  1. Sarah from California17 June 2020 at 16:49

    Love this!!!!!!

  2. Caroline in Montana17 June 2020 at 16:53

    Oh man, I love this dress and I really hope we get a repeat so we can see it in motion!! I love her hair down as well. Was very excited to see PC and PW were actually out doing engagements, would love to see kate out as well, but at the same time I worry about them and everyone else during these uncertain times.

    I have seen many articles lately about the queen not returning to engagements due to covid, do you think she will come back? I can see PC and the D&DofC doing more engagements (as well as the Wessex's and I really wish zara and mike were active royals, they are just rock solid!) but I just don't see her abdicating or doing the prince regent thing for PC? thoughts anyone?

    Some of us were discussing similar in the previous post as to succession and titles, I find it a fascinating subject!

    on a frivolous note, I think the photo with the model laying on the pink carpet is hilarious!! what a way to sell a dress:) lol

    1. I have a feeling the Queen shares my mother’s sentiment. If she only have a couple of years left to live she is not planning on spending it locked away in her home (or castle in the case of HM)
      I expect we will see HM sooner than we would expect. But I do agree that this Covid crisis has pushed Charles front and centre.

    2. I have missed the discussion at the last post, but I will give my two cents on the prince regent topic.
      I actually have a bet with a friend, that PC will most defenitely become Prince Regent at one point. But I also can see her outliving him, so that he never gets actually crowned. I don't know why, but I just cannot imagine him to actually wear the crown. And I really do think he and Camilla are a great couple, doing a tremendous job in their roles. Maybe he gets to be King but won't have a coronoation before the crown passes on. But my gut tells me it option 1. Please remember: You heard it here first....

  3. Tammy from California17 June 2020 at 17:18

    Looking forward to this! She's truly in her element when it comes to children. I bet she is a fantastic mother like her own mother seems to be.

  4. What a lovely message from the Duchess!! Love the dress, the hair, and that she seems to have found a beautiful window seat area to Zoom from! The photo entry "School by Nature" is wonderful, what a great shot and how creative of the young boy to make handprint rainbows on a flag pillowcase, LOVE IT! Very excited for Kate's Hold Still photo initiative, really looking forward to it and hoping like another commentor that Kate talks a little about the winning entries when it is judged. I feel it is a memorable endeavor that will hold much emotion for many, a little window into other's world during a trying time.

  5. What a lovely dress,hope we see it more times in the future. This COVID 19 is getting old now. Life needs to get back to normal.If this is getting on for much longer,people forget to shake hands or give hugs,not a good thing. I agree with Kate and others. A little Kindness goes a very long way,hope we will never take it for granted.

  6. Keeping up the fantastic job she is doing. The Duchess is spreading a very simple but very important message. Kindness. Hopefully now William is out and about again, she will be soon. Regardless she has been doing a lot of much needed work at the moment.

  7. Zora from Prague17 June 2020 at 22:31

    It never ceases to astonish me how beautiful Kate is!
    Great initiative - small steps going a long way... it's so simple but crucial, and kids need to hear it because that's something they can do, even being little... They can identify with it and make the world around them a better place.
    (It resonates with many adults too, of course! 🌼)
    Thank you, Charlotte!

    1. Agree with everything you said Zora!! I have made 'small steps' my mantra for this very unconventional year!! Kate is truly beautiful! cc

  8. To be realistic, at her age the Queen has not many active years left. It was a bit sad to see her at the much reduced birthday parade. I think the royal family is positioning itself for a changeover in duties. It will be fascinating to see what changes occur. For example the British seems to have the only monarchy, which still has a full fledged coronation with all the accompanying pomp and ceremony. Is it a good idea to continue this when economies are in dire straits and unemployment is rife?

  9. Valerie in Arizona18 June 2020 at 02:18

    First, commenting forward from Charlotte's last post, thanks to those who answered my musings on William & Kate becoming Prince and Princess of Wales. I see your point now, interesting times ahead! Loved how Kate looked in her Zoom event today/tomorrow, floaty dresses are a favorite of mine. Countess Sophie had a wonderful in-person visit today at the NSPCC/Childline HQ although her dress was not a hit with me. I am not a fan of camouflage as a whole outfit, too military. Still, she was out and about and I still wish we had a blog on Sophie. Also it was interesting, looking through the royal pages today, to see the difference between photos of Mary and Frederick of Denmark, no masks and Mary holding a posy, with Letizia and Felipe of Spain who had their masks on. None of the British royalty were wearing masks either in their visits today. Still a mixed bag when it comes to masks I guess.

  10. oh the duchess spreading positive and spreading good vibes hope the covid 19 will go fast and live needs has to be back to normal

  11. Susan in Florida18 June 2020 at 02:35

    She shines when she speaks to kids.

  12. It is wonderful! As a person that have struggled with mental health issues since my fifteen I can state that Catherine has been studying so much. "Talk to someone" about our mental health issues meanwhile "nurture ourselves" is in the heart of therapy strategies to better handle our emotions. I'm very happy with the Duchess of Cambridge focus on mental well being. She is doing an amazing job and her dedication to this cause is very clear. Thanks God I have had people around me to talk about my feelings and be listened with patience and empathy. Once I felt myself benefiting, I learned the importance of not only to talk, but to listen others without judgments or prejudices. It could be seem as a very basic thing to do, but it is the pillar. Catherine has my admiration and appreciation.

    1. It's good to hear your perspective Ana74!! Well said.

  13. I love how the BRF has discovered this way of digital visibility and action for them. It is also very efficent in terms of travel. Hopefully, when they are also back to personal visits, they can still use this method to manage an even higher engagement number than what would be possible if they had to turn up every time.
    Kate in affordable clothing is always a treat. That is why I am still a fan from her "early" year style. It was young but polished and it showed us that we all could look like this if we wanted too. For the majority it is just not possible to spend 100+ on one item aka investemnt pieces continously. It's a special treat for many. Affordable clothing can last years and look very elegant and well put together.
    I do think she should go more for ponytails or half/up dos in her video calls. I find those hairstyles much more flattering than her specific kind of blowout in general but laptop and phone lenses and webcames add a certain angle to faces and I find her looks more harmonious when the hair is tied back in that instant.
    On another note: I am glad the there seemed to habe been a bit of a clean up of the awful comments some people left. This polarisation and villifying has to stop. It defneitely starts to hurt the causes and charities they promote. Whoever thinks that is the kind of support that is welcome needs to have good think about their morals and values.

  14. Lovely to see the tweets of a lot of schools around the UK sharing pictures of the children following the discussion!

  15. Theresa - Austin, TX19 June 2020 at 13:25

    I just watched the full assembly and was so uplifted! The Duchess just has a way about her that is so genuine. You can tell she truly cares about this initiative and the children. They were just adorable!!


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