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Duchess Kate reunites with Crown Princess Mary on day two of Copenhagen royal visit - best photos

The royals first met in 2011

kate middleton crown princess mary
Danielle Stacey
Danielle StaceyOnline Royal CorrespondentLondon
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kate middleton arrival day 2© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess of Cambridge kicked off her second and final day in Copenhagen with a visit to Forest Kindergarten.

Kate, who was dressed casually for the occasion, learnt about a teaching concept where children have lessons outside that focus on their social and emotional development rather than just on academic skills like numeracy and literacy.

The Duchess then received an official welcome from Denmark's Queen Margrethe, alongside her daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Mary, at Christian IX's Palace in Copenhagen.

Additional reporting by HELLO!'s Royal Editor, Emily Nash, in Copenhagen.

READ: Kate Middleton giggles as she shoots out of children's slide on Denmark royal visit - best photos

kate middleton forest kindergarten© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess has travelled to Copenhagen to learn first-hand from academics and health professionals about their country's approach to the early years development of children that has made it a world leader.

But the two-day visit is also paying tribute to the historic ties Britain shares with Denmark and celebrates the countries' joint jubilees – the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and the Golden Jubilee of Denmark's Queen Margrethe II, both of which fall in 2022.

MORE: Kate Middleton reveals Prince William's concerns as she says she's 'broody'

kate middleton casual outfit© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess wore a cream roll neck jumper, black jeans and a Seeland jacket for her visit to the Forest Kindergarten. 

She kept her accessories simple, with a pair of hooped earrings. 

MORE: Kate Middleton rocks skinny jeans and totally chic jacket for Denmark visit

Keep clicking for more photos...

kate middleton forest kindergarten children© Photo: Getty Images

Kate looked in her element as she took in a number of activities with the children. 

The Duchess has shared her family's love of the outdoors and often speaks about its benefits at her royal engagements. 

Back in February 2020, she appeared on the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast and when host Giovanna Fletcher prompted the Duchess to complete the sentence, "I'm happy when…," Kate replied: "I'm with my family outside in the countryside and we're all filthy dirty."

MORE: Prince William and Kate's children just got offered an amazing opportunity

kate middleton forest kindergarten activities© Photo: Getty Images

Never one to shy away from an opportunity to try something new, Kate had a go at chopping wood during her visit. 

kate middleton woodland ramble© Photo: Getty Images

Kate went on a brief woodland walk with a "wing buddy" where a youngster pairs up with an older child to gain comfort and support.

She held the hand of a little girl, who also held the hand of Maibritt Iverson, head of Stenurten, and the trio followed pairs of children as they ran into the wooded area and emerged a few minutes later.

kate middleton mindfulness© Photo: Getty Images

At the end of the event a mindfullness session was held to relax the children and the Duchess sat with them in a circle around a fire covered by a wood canopy as everyone stared into the flames.

crown princess mary queen margrethe kate middleton© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess then made her way to Christian IX's Palace, where she received an official welcome to Denmark from Queen Margrethe and Crown Princess Mary. 

The trio posed for a group photo before their audience. 

MORE: Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik's bejewelled palace is so luxurious – photos

kate middleton queen margrethe laugh© Photo: Getty Images

The royal ladies share a laugh during their audience at the palace. 

Kate and Mary first met during the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's visit to Denmark in 2011, and Crown Princess Mary and her husband, Crown Prince Frederik, also joined William and Kate at Royal Ascot in 2016.

The British and Danish royal families share close ties, with the Queen and Queen Margrethe being third cousins, as they are both descendants from Queen Victoria and King Christian IX of Denmark.

Queen Margrethe was also among the guests at William and Kate's royal wedding in April 2011.

kate middleton crown princess mary courtyard© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess and the Crown Princess walked from Christian IX's Palace via the Amalienborg Courtyard to Frederik VIII's Palace for a private lunch.  

The two royal ladies looked elegant in their ensembles, with Kate having changed from casual attire to a new grey cashmere and wool coat from Catherine Walker. She accessorised with pearl jewellery, black gloves and heels. 

Meanwhile, Crown Princess Mary donned a high neck black dress with a white collarless coat and a clutch bag. 

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kate middleton crown princess mary wave© Photo: Getty Images

The royals waved as they made their way across the courtyard chatting before their private lunch at Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik's home. 

kate mary danner crisis centre© Photo: Getty Images

HELLO!'s Royal Editor, Emily Nash, is in Copenhagen with the Duchess of Cambridge...

Future Queens the Duchess of Cambridge and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark joined forces today to visit a women's refuge in Copenhagen.

Kate's mission to learn about the Danish way of raising happy, resilient children, took her to the Danner Crisis Centre with the Crown Princess, whose Mary Foundation supports children arriving there by providing them with a backpack filled with essentials.

The Centre can accommodate 18 mothers and 18 children fleeing domestic abuse at a time and on average they stay for four or five months.

Arriving from a private lunch at Frederik VIII's Palace, the royal women were greeted at the historic building with posies from two little girls, Mouna, seven, and five-year-old April.

"Thank you so much," said Kate, crouching down alongside Mary to speak to them. "What’s your name?"

"It's a bit cold!" said the Crown Princess, ushering them inside.

kate middleton danner crisis centre© Photo: Getty Images

In private, they were introduced to women and children currently living at the shelter, which was built by Countess Danner in the 18th Century to house women and children in need. The Countess was born a commoner, Louise Rasmussen, to a single mother and went on to marry Frederik VII of Denmark.

The building has been used as a domestic abuse shelter since 1980.

In a grand meeting room, Kate and Mary were shown ComfortPacks provided by the Mary's charity, opening them up to find water bottles, cuddly toys, pencil cases and notebooks.

Lene Frisch Larsen, a child therapist at the centre, told the royal visitors: "It's actually very important for the children to have their own stuff."

Explaining that mothers and children often arrive at the centre in the middle of the night, Mary told Kate: "It started as an idea to ensure that they had some practical things and some comforting things at the same time. But we soon realised that it had a much deeper effect than just to give them a toothbrush – it became a way to start a conversation."

kate middleton danner centre© Photo: Getty Images

They were also shown a postcard from the Crown Princess to each child in which she tells them they can talk about their experiences.

Lene explained how one little girl had been so excited to receive the note "from the real Crown Princess" that she took it to school to show all her friends and told her mother she could tell everyone because "Princesses don't lie."

"You should tell my children!" joked Mary, who has four children with her husband Crown Prince Frederik - Prince Christian, 16, Princess Isabella, 14, and 11-year-old twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine.

mary kate danner centre© Photo: Getty Images

As well as providing essentials, the packs serve as a tool to help children speak about the violence they have witnessed.

The bags are filled each year by former Lego employees and staff from the Mary Foundation at Lego Charity in Billund. More than 30,000 children have received a Comfort Pack since 2008.

Around 2,000 children move into women's shelters with their mother each year in Denmark. 

mary kate danner centre roundtable© Photo: Getty Images

Mette Marie Yde, chief executive of the Danner Centre, told the Duchess: "Thanks for your visit. It means a lot to us and all the women and the children you just met, but it means a lot to all women and children in Denmark in a situation of domestic abuse."

Talking about the centre's work, she added: "Not only do we provide emergency support, but also longer-term solutions and our goal is not only to protect women and children but also to prepare them for life afterwards."

Told the women and children are encouraged to talk about their experiences with others, Kate said: "It must be really helpful for the women who have just arrived to hear from others who have been here a bit longer, about what they have been through and share their stories."

The Crown Princess replied: “Sometimes they are not ready, because it’s too traumatic."

mary kate discussion

Lene Frisch Larsen, a child therapist, said children are given a room where they can talk about the violence they have experienced, adding: "The children don't have answers to their questions and why the violence has happened."

"And also, what's normal?" added Mary. “Because for them violence is normal.The children need to speak about what they have been through."

Kate said: "When it comes to building these relationships, is it based on trauma-informed best practice, for children specifically? What sort of programme is it?"

"We use different tools," explained Lene. "When the woman and her child comes here the first conversation will be with the mother alone, with me and a colleague, a social worker."

She said the first meeting with the child was with the mother too, "to help mums explain why they are here," adding: "The child will find out that it's ok to talk about it, it's not a secret anymore."

Mary explained: "We don't want to take away the power of being a mother, by saying 'I know this because your mother has told me', and it's together with the mother that we have the first conversation, so she's the support for the child always."

Kate asked: "The variety of ages of the children you work with, the way you talk about their experiences must vary in order to help them explain the situation.

"What helps most with healing for both the children and women who come here? Is it having a safe space, is it someone trusting to talk to? Or everything? A combination?"

Lene agreed, adding: "If you’re not safe, you're not able to talk about having a future."

mary kate danner centre copenhagen© Photo: Getty Images

Danner supports around 60 women a year in the crisis centre and under Danish law, all municipalities have to provide temporary shelter to women and children who are suffering domestic violence.

The Duchess heard how mothers coming to the shelter tell their children it’s a hotel where they are having a break. Older children also receive diaries so they can write about their experiences.

She asked: "Are they aware of what they're [the children] going through and what they are experiencing? Are they aware that it's having an impact on their children?"

Lene replied: "A lot of the mums say their child hasn't seen anything."

"But children notice," nodded Kate, adding: "The older they are the more they can articulate and explain how they feel.

"Parents I've seen in addiction, their children are two or three who (they think) don't notice it. But it's because they don't have a voice.. But children feel relationships."

mary kate depart© Photo: Getty Images

Crown Princess Mary said there needed to be better understanding of the complexity of domestic abuse, saying: "We have this tendency to say, 'just leave', but it’s so much more complicated."

She said there needed to be better understanding of "how can we, as bystanders, do something.

"Are we going to exacerbate the situation? It's not easy, but we need to have these conversations to be able to create better awareness.. and give people the power to take action."

Social workers at the centre also speak to class teachers so children have a trusted contact there to confide in."It helps to break the taboo," said Lene.

Outside, Kate and Mary waved to onlookers before saying goodbye with a warm embrace and leaving in separate cars.

Crown Princess Mary established The Mary Foundation in 2007 using 1.1 million kroner from a wedding fund raised by the people of Denmark and Greenland when she wed Crown Prince Frederik in 2004.

It aims to tackle social isolation and related issues, based on the idea that we all have the right to belong.

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