The Duchess of Cambridge has revealed more about her two-day work experience at Kingston Maternity Unit in November, in an open letter to midwives, ahead of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife in 2020. As part of her Early Years work, Kate, 37, spent time in hospital clinics and on post-natal wards during the visit, and as HELLO! exclusively revealed, the Duchess even went out on a community midwife visit.
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In the open letter, Kate wrote: "During my time at Kingston I accompanied community midwives on their daily rounds and was welcomed into people’s homes. I was truly touched by the trust that people placed in me, sharing their experiences and voicing their fears openly. I also spent time in hospital clinics and on post-natal wards.
Kate met a newborn baby. Credit: Kensington Palace/PA
"No matter the setting, I was continually struck by the compassion that those of you I spent time with showed, and the incredible work ethic you demonstrated on behalf of your entire profession - not only performing your rounds but working tirelessly through the night to support people that were at their most vulnerable."
Kensington Palace released four photos taken during Kate's time at Kingston Maternity Unit, including one of the Duchess cooing over a newborn baby. The images also show the royal mum, wearing a printed Michael Kors dress, having a cup of tea with midwives in their break room, another chatting to staff and a fourth of Kate and the maternity unit team, posing for a group shot.
Kate chats with midwives during a tea break. Credit: Kensington Palace/PA
The Duchess, who became patron of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 2018, paid tribute to midwives, saying: "You are there for women at their most vulnerable; you witness strength, pain and unimaginable joy on a daily basis."
She added: "You don’t ask for praise or for recognition but instead unwaveringly continue your amazing work bringing new life into our world. You continue to demonstrate that despite your technical mastery and the advancement of modern medicine, it is the human to human relationships and simple acts of kindness that sometimes mean the most."
The Duchess spent two days in the maternity unit. Credit: Kensington Palace/PA
Kate signed off her open letter by thanking midwives "for all that you do" and described the experience as a "real privilege".
Frances Rivers, Homebirth Team Lead Midwife, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust tells HELLO!: "We were thrilled and honoured to have The Duchess come out with us on our rounds visiting mothers who are planning or have had a homebirth. Several of the families discussed the challenges common to all new parents of managing a newborn's round-the-clock needs with their own well-being and the adjustment required to daily life.
"During The Duchess' visit to the maternity unit she sat in on our homebirth team meeting and heard the stories of the families we care for. She learned what having a homebirth involves - from the kit we bring to ensure the safety of mother and baby to the practicalities of setting up a birthing pool."
In March 2018, Kate convened a steering group to look at what can be done to make a positive difference to the lives of children, by focusing on their earliest stage of life, from pre-birth to five years of age.
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