"It Takes A Village To Raise A Child": The Duchess Marks The Culmination Of Back To Nature - Emmanuel's Blog

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"It Takes A Village To Raise A Child": The Duchess Marks The Culmination Of Back To Nature

The Duchess of Cambridge began her September schedule today with a previously unannounced visit to RHS Wisley for the fun-filled Back To Nature festival.

It marks Kate's official return to duties following summer break. The engagement was the culmination of Kate's garden project which aimed to highlight the importance of children spending as much time as possible outdoors enjoying nature.

Kensington Palace said: "As part of her longstanding work on Early Years, the Duchess of Cambridge believes that spending time outdoors plays a pivotal role in children’s future health and happiness, building foundations that last through childhood and over a lifetime. Through her Back to Nature gardens, which were displayed earlier this year at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, Her Royal Highness has aimed to highlight how spending time outdoors can enrich a child’s early development by providing an environment that encourages active exploration and the opportunity to form and strengthen positive relationships."

The Duchess officially opened a new play garden at Wisley, which was inspired by Back To Nature. Designed by landscape architects Davies White with support from RHS horticultural teams, it includes a number of features from the original garden at RHS Chelsea such as the hollow log and boulders from the waterfall and the hidden burrow and rolling hill from Hampton Court Garden. 

New features include a bouncing forest where visitors can jump on trampolines, a living willow pod and two linked treehouses.

It's a permanent installation which children will enjoy for many years to come.

The Duchess enjoyed a chat with the Queen of Baking and RHS Wisley patron Mary Berry. 

Kate has met Mary on a number of occasions over the years. She was once revealed she is "a big fan of her cookbooks and cakes".

To celebrate the Back To Nature festival will run throughout this week at Wisley. 

It includes circus acts, maypole dancing, a coconut shy and a host of gardening activities. 

Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, said: “We are grateful to The Duchess for the incredible impact that this ‘Back to Nature’ collaboration has had. There is no doubt that this project, through her passion and vision, has highlighted that access to natural environments and green spaces isn’t just a nice to have, it’s vital to have. This is something that the RHS also strongly believes in and will continue to champion through our Greening Great Britain Campaign and charitable work.”

A number of representatives, families and children from charities and organisations Kate has met over the course of her early years work were invited today. 

Hannah Furness reports: "The Duchess was equally impressed by three-year-old Dylan Corbin from Woking, Surrey, who was dressed as an animal. “Are you a tiger?” she asked. “No," he said. "It’s face paint."

Kate was particularly taken by fifteen-month-old Matilda Griffiths. She chatted with mum Sarah about Louis and said "he loves to smell flowers" and spend time in the garden. 

More from The Telegraph:

"Sarah Griffiths, 25, from Southend, Essex, who has been helped by the charity Family Action and brought her 15-month-old daughter Matilda with her, said: “The experience was a bit overwhelming, it’s still a bit of a daze, but really exciting. “She asked me how Family Action have helped me. They’ve helped me lots getting me out socialising.”

A very sweet video of Kate dancing with Matilda.

Women's Weekly


Too cute! #KateMiddleton dances with a wee baby at the @The_RHS Garden Wisley - she tells mum Sarah that little #PrinceLouis loves to “smell flowers in the garden” @KensingtonRoyal


12:58 - 10 Sep 2019

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The group travelled via tractor and trailer before Kate's speech. 

During a very nicely delivered speech, Kate spoke of the importance of laying the foundation blocks from the earliest years, her work in the area and how much she has enjoyed the process of creating the garden. "There is a well-known proverb – that it takes a village to raise a child – everyone here represents an integral part of that very village. By coming together, having fun, learning and experiencing new things, we can all impart life-long benefits on our children."

Emily Andrews


Replying to @byEmilyAndrews

Video: Kate made a speech about how it takes “a village to raise a child” and thanked @RHSWisley for asking her to design a garden for them.


13:29 - 10 Sep 2019

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Kate's full speech from The Mail:

'As many of you know, I was invited by the RHS to co-design a garden for families and children for this year’s Chelsea Flower Show and Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival. It’s been the most amazing experience and I can’t thank the RHS enough for giving me this wonderful opportunity. 

'I am delighted that many of those features that first appeared in those gardens, have found a permanent home here at Wisley in the new children’s play garden. I hope it will enable thousands of children to discover and explore the natural world around them. 

'I am not as green fingered as many of you here, but I was passionate about creating a garden that inspired children and adults alike to get back to nature and reap the positive mental and physical health benefits that it can bring. The gardens were, I suppose, a manifestation of some of the work I have been focusing on around how best we can support our children in the earliest years. 

'The physical benefits of being outdoors and in nature are well documented. More recently, however, I have learnt that these often safe and supportive environments can also bring significant benefits to the cognitive, social and emotional development of our children too. 

'The experiences we gain during our earliest years influence who we become as people. They influence how we interact in school, in work and in society and, ultimately how we bring up our own children. 

'Whether it is planting, exploring, digging, creating, or playing; quality time spent outside provides children with the perfect environment to form those positive relationships with the people in their lives and the world around them. As a parent, I have learnt just how important it is to foster our children’s development, in all areas, not just physical, as soon as they are born. 

'We build the blocks, the foundations, for future success and happiness later in their lives. These relationships, however, stretch far beyond the crucial one that a parent or carer has with its child.  Like in the animal kingdom, whether a pod, a pack, or a pride, the interactions we have with the broader community – be it with our grandparent, teachers or neighbours – play a crucial role in the growth and learning of our young. 

'There is a well-known proverb – that it takes a village to raise a child – everyone here represents an integral part of that very village. By coming together, having fun, learning and experiencing new things, we can all impart life-long benefits on our children. 

'That is why I wanted to invite you here today – many of whom I have met in my pursuit to learn more about the early years - to celebrate the work that you are doing, thank you personally and to continue working with you to inspire even more people to follow your lead. I hope you all have a wonderful day.'

Time for arts and crafts.

The Duchess continued her trend of wearing floral dresses for her garden visits by choosing the Emilia Wickstead Aurora dress (with thanks to Middleton Maven).

The $2,255 piece is described as: "This 'Aurora' shirt dress is made from light and breathable seersucker and decorated with her signature 'Rosewood' florals. Use the buckled belt to define your waist." It's available in limited sizing at Net-A-Porter.

Kate wore her Monsoon Fleur wedges.

A closer look at Kate's new earrings. They were initially identified as an Accessorize pair, however the eagle-eyed What Kate Wore correctly noted several differences. I'll update when/if they are definitively ID'd.

The Back To Nature garden is a lovely addition to Wisley. It was terrific to see so many children from various charities supported by the Duchess having fun and exploring with their loved ones - exactly what the project was all about

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