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Kate Middleton surprises schoolchildren with gift from Anmer Hall - best photos

The Duchess of Cambridge visited the Natural History Museum

kate middleton museum
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
Updated: 22 June 2021
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kate middleton museum arrival© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess of Cambridge surprised local schoolchildren as she stepped out to visit the Natural History Museum in South Kensington on Tuesday.

Kate, who is patron of the London museum, heard how communities across the UK will benefit from its Urban Nature Project, which is being launched later this year. The project aims to help people reconnect with the natural world and find practical solutions to protect our planet's future.

READ: Prince Charles and Camilla's touching birthday message to Prince William revealed

The Duchess also visited the Museum's Wildlife Garden and joined local schoolchildren taking part in nature activities, including spider-making and an interactive story-telling exercise.  

Kate even brought along some homemade honey from her country home, Anmer Hall, for the children to try. 

WATCH: Kate Middleton surprises schoolchildren at Natural History Museum 

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The Duchess was greeted by Museum Director, Dr Doug Gurr, upon arrival. 

The Urban Nature Project will see the museum's five-acre grounds transformed into a globally relevant urban nature epicentre complete with outdoor classrooms, a 'living lab' and a weatherproof cast of the Museum's famous diplodocus, Dippy. 

As part of her longstanding work on child development in the early years, Kate believes that spending time outdoors plays a pivotal role in children's future health and happiness.

In 2019 she helped to create the Back to Nature garden for the Chelsea Flower Show and she has previously said that she's happy when she's with her family "outside in the countryside and we're all filthy dirty".

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kate middleton outfit© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess sported a smart-casual appearance for her engagement, wearing a new pink Chloe blazer with a white T-shirt, her blue jeans from & Other Stories and her VEJA trainers. 

MORE: Kate Middleton glows in pink Chloe blazer and skinny jeans for new royal outing

kate middleton schoolchildren museum© Photo: Getty Images

Kate met schoolchildren from the local St. Mary of the Angels Primary School in the museum's wildlife garden and helped them make spiders from pine cones before joining them for an immersive story telling walk.

kate middleton laughing museum visit© Photo: Getty Images

As Kate helped to make the spiders, she told the children: "I'm going to call my spider cuddles."

MORE: Watch Prince George and Princess Charlotte help Prince William do countdown in adorable Father's Day video

kate middleton gifts honey© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess asked the children if they knew where bees got their nectar from, before producing a pot of honey made by her own bees at Anmer Hall.

"Would you like to try some?" she asked. "I've got one spoon each. This came specially from my beehive.

"See if it tastes the same as at home. Does it taste like honey from the shops? Does it taste like flowers?"

The Duchess asked the children if they knew how many species of bees there were in this country, telling them: "It's 350, isn't that amazing?"

She told them: "Every time you see a bee; say thank you so much because they make delicious honey."

The Duchess took the honey as a gift for the children because the importance of bees linked to the museum's project about biodiversity. 

She is thought to have chipped in with her family to buy her brother, James Middleton, a colony of 1,000 Buckfast bees as a birthday present when he turned 24.

MORE: Are Prince William and Kate Middleton set to move out of London?

kate middleton speaks with children museum© Photo: Getty Images

The museum's Executive Director Clare Matterson showed Kate some specimens and talked her through the Urban Nature Project.

Ms Matterson said of the Duchess after her visit: "The fantastic thing is that she is so interested in nature and learning and children and that's what this project is all about.

"She's so engaged, there was lots of nice synergy.

"She was so curious, wanting to know about the science and research we had done, which fits in with her own research-based work on the early years.

"She was really interested in the idea of how we engage people in the first place, how you get people inspired and interested."

kate middleton museum visit© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess also helped to fix an acoustic monitoring device to a cherry tree, which will record ambient sound to help scientists investigate patterns of bird, mammal and insect activity within the garden.

MORE: Kate Middleton braves the rain in London as she marks work milestone

kate middleton visits natural history museum© Photo: Getty Images

Kate's visit to the Natural History Museum comes after she launched the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood on Friday.

The Duchess became the museum's patron in 2013 and last visited the historic building in South Kensington when it reopened its doors in October after the first lockdown. She recorded a special video in the Hintze Hall, where she announced the Grand Title winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the year competition.

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