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The Duchess of Cambridge reads children's bedtime story for CBeebies

Kate is marking Children's Mental Health Week

kate middleton cbeebies
Emily Nash
Emily NashRoyal EditorLondon
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The Duchess of Cambridge has been unveiled as the latest famous face to read a CBeebies Bedtime Story, making a special appearance to mark Children's Mental Health Week.

She follows in the footsteps of celebrities including Hollywood stars Reese Witherspoon and Tom Hardy, Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page and singers Ed Sheeran and Dolly Parton, who have all delighted young viewers – and their parents.

Wearing a cosy Fair Isle roll-neck sweater by Holland & Cooper and jeans, Kate is seen sitting cross-legged on a rug near a fire pit as she reads The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark, by Jill Tomlinson.

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She chose the book, which is illustrated by Paul Howard, because it reflects this year's Children's Mental Health Week theme of Growing Together.

With a hot chocolate close at hand and two soft toy owls the Duchess smiles at the camera, while behind her, one of the show’s trademark soft yellow bugs watches on from inside a den made of tree branches.

Nature-fan Kate is known for her love of building dens with her children and is a passionate believer in the mental health benefits of getting outdoors.

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kate middleton place2be© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess has been royal patron of Place2Be since 2013

Patricia Hidalgo, director of BBC Children's and Education, said: "I couldn't be more proud to have the Duchess read a CBeebies Bedtime Story as we mark the 20th anniversary of our CBeebies and CBBC channels.

"It's such a special and relevant tale and perfectly represents this year's Children's Mental Health week theme. I can't wait to see her deliver her own take on such a classic story and I'm sure our audience can't either."

The themed week is a national event aimed at highlighting the importance of children's mental health and has been taking place annually since 2015, when it was launched by the charity Place2Be, of which Kate is royal patron.

This year, adults and children are being encouraged to consider how they have grown emotionally, how trying new things can help people move beyond their comfort zones and how challenges and setbacks can help them to mature and adapt.

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the owl who was afraid of the dark

The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark, £2.63, Amazon


Although she is the first royal to take part in the show, Kate is not the first member of the Queen's family to read a story on screen.

In 1984, the Prince of Wales read his children's book The Old Man of Lochnagar on BBC's Jackanory. In 2020, the Duchess of Cornwall joined Oscar-winning film director Taika Waititi to read from James and the Giant Peach to support Covid-19 charities.

Prince Harry also read a Thomas the Tank Engine story to mark 75 years of the much-loved children's book series.

The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark, read by the Duchess on CBeebies Bedtime Stories airs at 6.50pm on Sunday.

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