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Princess Kate joins forces with Professor Green for cause close to her heart

The Princess of Wales visited the Foundling Museum in London

Kate Middleton arrives at Foundling Museum in London wearing a pink suit

The Princess of Wales told young care leavers she was "honoured" to meet them and hear about their lives on a visit to a Foundling Museum in London.

Kate looked moved by the stories of young people who have left the care system as they opened up about their challenging childhoods.

She told them: "It's extraordinary the journey, all of the experiences that you've gone through that's why you're here. Being able to communicate and express how you feel - it's amazing to be able to do this you shouldn't take it for granted - it's fantastic. And I feel so honoured to meet all of you, to hear your journeys and also your passions and aspirations."

The future queen was meeting graduates aged between 18 and 29 from the Museum's art and creative writing trainee programmes in the Finding Family exhibition, which explores the different perceptions of family from young people who have been in care. See Kate's arrival at the Museum in the clip below...

WATCH: Princess Kate wows in pink suit as she visits the Foundling Museum

Sitting next to the rapper Professor Green, who was brought up by his grandmother, the Princess nodded along as Charlotte, who grew up in care from the age of seven, read a poem she had written about love.

"Beautifully done," said Kate as she finished to applause. "It's so wonderful to hear your authentic expression of that. Is this something you’ve always loved doing?”

Told Charlotte had always loved writing, the Princess replied: "Keep it up, it's very good. Well done you."

The Princess met with those who have lived experience of the care system© Shutterstock
The Princess met with those who have lived experience of the care system
Kate Middleton wearing pink suit and pearl earrings© Shutterstock
Kate has been patron of the Foundling Museum since 2019

Another graduate, Xiola, 18, told the royal visitor she had been taken into care aged eight and had spent ten years in the system.

She said: "The most recent foster home I was in, they were really good to me. I had two foster fathers and they were both amazing. They treated me like I was their own.

"I didn't understand how to be loved because I wasn't shown that at home. But they showed me a lot of things that I didn't experience growing up.

"If I was to have kids I know exactly how to raise them and show them the world that I didn't get."

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Kate was joined by rapper Professor Green at Foundling Museum© Getty
Kate was joined by rapper Professor Green
Kate Middleton and Professor Green at the Foundling Museum© Getty
Kate heard moving stories from young people at the Museum

Indika, 18, became emotional as she told Kate how she had acted as the parent to her siblings for many years before being taken into care at 17.

"I can see how hard it is for all of you to talk about it and the experiences you have gone through," the Princess sympathised.

She also heard from Bez, who came to the UK from Iran as a teenager and was placed in care after claiming asylum. Now a father of two, he works as an artist’s assistant at the Museum, helping to teach other young people.

He said that before the course: "I was really shy, I couldn’t communicate with people. It opened my eyes to the capabilities that I have got and the value that I can bring to different organisations. I've seen a lot of people's lives change just by being given the belief."

"Was this in a way part of a family in itself for you?" asked Kate. “Did you feel this gave you part of what was missing? Family is all about connections and those meaningful connections that we form and it can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. It sounds like everyone here has found those shared connections."

"I feel like I have found someone here," said Indika.

Kate Middleton speaking at the Foundling Museum London© Getty
The Princess of Wales carried out engagements in London to highlight the effects of nurturing relationships in early childhood

The Foundling Museum offers young care-leavers two traineeships each year, an eight-month course in art and a four-month course in creative writing. Trainees are referred by their social workers or charities working with those leaving care and go on to teach family workshops at the Museum and help to teach others coming through the programme.

Afterwards Bez said of the Princess: "To have her actually come and support this is amazing. She's a very nice person, she's very humble and down to earth and it feels quite natural and comfortable to talk to her."

Asked what her visit meant to young people in care, he replied: “It means quite a lot because you kind of feel pushed aside to the kerbs of society. Nobody is looking at your talents, your ambitions and your wants and needs are denied. It means a lot to people. Not many care leavers have had experiences in even normal social settings so to meet royalty is big."

Kate Middleton arriving at Foundling Museum in pink suit© Shutterstock
The Princess wore a pink McQueen suit with pearl accessories

Upstairs, the future queen met adoptive and foster parents to hear about the challenges they face and the training they undergo.

Ryan Lynch, a church pastor and father of two adopted sons, now aged 23 and 21, told her: "Children coming out of the care system have come from very difficult backgrounds. They are children who need a huge amount of support and looking after. It’s an ongoing story."

She also heard from the actress Lisa Faulkner, who has an adopted daughter, and Ros Kerslake, a mum of three who has fostered more than 50 children over a decade. 

Ryan, who has also met Queen Camilla through his connection to the Coram children's charity said: "The fact that they [the royal family] are interested in such a significant social issue, children in care, is remarkable."

Kate also met trustees and supports of the Foundling Museum including the artist Grayson Perry as the charity launched a public appeal to raise the final £1million of the £4.6million needed to secure its long-term home near the site of the original Foundling Hospital.

Kate Middleton and Grayson Perry at the Foundling Museum© Getty
Kate speaks with Grayson Perry

The Hospital was the UK's first children’s charity and was founded in 1739 with the support of prominent artists as a home for children whose mothers couldn't keep or care for them.

Wearing colourful floral dungarees, Grayson joked that he had gone for a "smart casual look".

After chatting to Kate, an art history graduate, he said: "That's quite a unique thing you know that Handel and Coram and Hogarth got together to set up this place - the Foundling Hospital. Nowadays with telethons on the telly we take it for the granted that culture is going to help. These were the guys that almost started the idea of Live Aid - they did Live Aid in the 18th century."

He said about Kate: "This place represents what I know of her's art, museum, young people, creativity and the difficulties that kids face, this place has all of that, that's why it's a good fit. People talk about art like it's some frivolous added on extra, I always say it's a broad church, we can go from the most serious modern opera to a comedy club and that's culture - you wouldn't want to be without it."

At the Kate's second engagement, Professor Green, born Stephen Manderson, introduced the Princess to his Nanny Pat – and she had even bought a new blouse for the occasion!

The songwriter's grandmother got up extra early to have her hair done before being introduced to Kate at a support group session for kinship carers in London.

The royal also played with children on the floor as she met a group of carers at Saint Pancras Community Association in Camden who have been supported by charity Kinship.

Kinship care is when a child is looked after by their extended family or close friends if they cannot remain with their birth parents.

Speaking about being brought up by his grandmother, Professsor Green said: "It was just the done thing. Family doesn't necessarily mean two parents with 2.4 children. My home wasn't broken. The amazing thing about charities like this is it's focusing on early intervention, there's things as a child I would've better coped with."

Earlier this week, the Princess joined the first ever children's picnic at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. 

Kate Middleton sits on a picnic blanket with school children at Chelsea Flower Show© Getty
Kate chatted with school pupils at the chidren's picnic
Kate Middleton smiles and talks with school pupils at Chelsea Flower Show© Getty
Kate visited three gardens at the show
Kate Middleton looks up during a tour of one of the Chelsea Flower Show gardens© Getty
The royal spoke to children about the positive impact of being outside in nature

The Children's picnic, which is set to become an annual event at the Show, was inspired by a conversation the Princess had with the RHS in 2019 when she unveiled her Back to Nature Garden. She told organisers she felt it would be nice to involve more children in the event.

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